PSIPOOK | reviews | the good thief



The Good Thief
Crime/US, UK/English (Japanese subtitles)/109 minutes
Starring: Nick Nolte, Tcheky Karyo, Nutsa Kukhianidze
Director: Neil Jordan
Fox Searchlight

Bob is a good guy and loved by all. He even rescues damsels in distress in his spare time. He is also a drug addict, a failed gambler, and a multi-faceted petty criminal who is planning a very big robbery indeed.

The Good Thief is based on the 1955 French noir classic Bob le Flambeur by Jean-Pierre Melville. This remake is directed by Neil Jordan who will be familiar to you from Mona Lisa and The Crying Game. The story is set on the French Riviera where we find Bob — the good thief of the title— son of an American father and French mother at rock bottom and slumming through Europe’s seedy underbelly, rubbing shoulders with a new breed of gangsters imported from the world’s nastiest trouble spots in the Balkan’s and Africa. Penniless and wracked by addiction he decides on an audacious theft of a major work of art.

Cue the art jokes. Bob justifies the theft by pointing out that Picasso stole ideas from everyone and weirdo art thug (Ralph Fiennes) gets to wave a knife and say : "If I don't get my money back by Monday, what I do to your faces will definitely be Cubist".
Local cop (Tcheky Karyo) gets to hear about the job Bob is planning, but instead of arresting him, tries to turn him away. Bob being the good thief, even the police are trying to save him from himself. The plot is elegant and ironic and there will be no spoilers here.
Bob is played by a career-best Nick Nolte who is a natural for the role.

Nolte is known for his own walks on the wild side and possibly didn't have to reach too far inside to find Bob. The actor admitted to journalists at the Toronto film festival that he took a little heroin every day of shooting the film ‘to get in the mood’.

Mood is the right word for this stylish, thoughtful and unconventional film.

Review by Chris Page

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