Welcome movie fans! It’s been a little while but Old Man Feind took in another little Indie film so did I hit gold or find a dud? Let’s find out with…
I’ve probably never mentioned on this site (not sure because I can’t remember) but one of my favorite actors is Adrien Brody. One of my favorite films of all time is The Jacket with my secret girlfriend Keira Knightly but Brody has just a ton of great Indie’s that rank as personal favorites (The Experiment, Detachment and Wrecked come immediately to mind). So when I saw that Brody was in American Heist I didn’t need to know anything else about the film to have me excited to watch this one. Plus I’m a sucker for a good heist movie though I admit I compare all heist movies to the best one ever made in Michael Mann’s 1995 classic Heat. Seriously if you’ve never seen Heat you need to correct that shit! So what of this latest heist flick?
American Heist is the tale of two brothers, James (Hayden Christensen) and Frankie (Brody), with some troubled history. Apparently about a decade prior the brothers were part of a robbery gone wrong that ended with some prison time. James served only about a year while Frankie served much more. James has since gone legit working as a mechanic and just trying to keep himself out of trouble and have a normal life. He wants to open his own garage but that prison record prevents him from getting the financing. I do have to mention that this is probably the best acting job Christensen has done to date. He seems to get a ton of hate after his portrayal of Anakin Skywalker in the second two Star Wars prequels and I won’t say I’ve thought of him as the best actor in the world so hopefully he continues to do films like this where he did do a very good job. But back to this film…
While James tries to build a normal life his past, of course, comes back to haunt him. The bank tells him to essentially leave and not come back, he runs into an old flame Emily (played by the lovely Jordana Brewster you’ll recognize as Mia, Vin Diesel’s younger sister, in the Fast & Furious flicks) and then Frankie shows up offering nothing but trouble. Early on we see that James, while no longer leading a life of crime, has kept his driving skills intact just in case I guess or just likes the thrill of driving fast, who doesn’t? You can see pretty easily where the film is leading which doesn’t really spoil anything as it is a heist flick and hits some general plot points. Frankie tries and succeeds in leading James back into a life of crime as the only way he’ll ever be able to open his own garage like he wants which leads to conflict with lovely Emily who also happens to be a police dispatcher to further complicate things. So plot wise no, you’re not getting anything new here. The story is well told though and the acting is excellent so kudos to the writer, Raul Inglis, as well as the entire cast!
I won’t spoil this one by getting too specific because you should watch this one for the excellent performances and the twists and turns of a heist film. Brody is excellent as always, Christensen is surprisingly good and Brewster is good and beautiful plus the big robbery to top it all off. This one ends the only way that it really can but it’s no less powerful just because you see it coming. Perhaps I liked this one more than the average viewer because I like Brody so much but seriously I can’t think of a poor performance he’s ever given. The 2 part A&E docu-drama Houdini was worth watching just for Brody though Houdini was quite the interesting fellow. It’s pretty easy to tell that I enjoyed this one and if you like a good heist film you will too. It easily passed The Scribbler Clock Test and to score it in normal terms I’d give it about a 3.5 out of five which easily makes American Heist…
While I was writing this review I was listening to some music, of course, and the following song played and I couldn’t think of a song that would’ve been more suited to American Heist so enjoy All The Heavy Lifting from Mastodon off 2011’s The Hunter.
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What do you think Scribbler movie fans? Enjoy a good heist film? What’s your favorite? Think anything beats Heat? Feel free to share your thoughts/suggestions in the comments below.
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