Thursday, February 23, 2006

How To Steal A Million

All over the radio this morning -- £25m stolen from Security Depot-- six men in Kent apparentely. Fairly intricate. Said to be Britain's biggest ever robbery - check out BBC for more details.

It seems in movies, pulling off this kind of heist is epic and genius, going back to William Wyler's charming '66 comedy How to Steal a Million, which, to this day, I love. With the divine Miss Audrey Hepburn in a role that showcases her as a comic goddess, and also starring the glorious Peter O'Toole, HTSAM is about the duo's plan to steal the valuable Cellini Venus statue from a Paris museum, to prove its authenticity (or lack thereof).

We've seen this before in Ocean's Eleven (the remake is better, the sequel, not so good) where eleven guys take part in a grand casino heist, and go through many trials, tribulations, and planning to pull it off. Entrapment is similar. Two master criminals doing battle with one another. As is The Thomas Crown Affair, though perhaps it's more about the aftermath than the event.

Anyone noticed a pattern? In every single case, we're rooting for the criminal. Why is that? Is it a 'fuck you' to society and corporate dominance? Looking at the people stolen from, and motives for theft, there seems to be circumstances that make the situation more morally permissable. In HTSAM, the statue is being stolen to prove its true worth, in both sentimental and financial value. In Ocean's Eleven, the man at the head of the casino, Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia), is a cold, calculating, mechanical villain. In Entrapment, theft is the 'norm'. The Thomas Crown Affair is slightly different, but still paints (excuse the pun) Pierce Brosnan in an almost idolised shade of blue. Yet when it comes to real-life, we can't help but denounce these master criminals for being greedy thugs.

When is it alright to steal, and when is it not? What is your favourite heist movie and why?

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