THE ART OF THE STEAL Trailer Looks Like A Knockoff About A Knockoff
In The Art of the Steal, a new film written and directed by the Canadian Jonathan Sobol, Kurt Russell reprises his Death Proof role of a stunt driver with an interesting hobby. But instead of being a stunt driver moonlighting as a serial killer, in The Art of the Steal, he’s a stunt driver planning heists of priceless cultural artifacts in his spare time. Let’s just hope this isn’t the beginning of a typecast for Russell, who plays a campy daredevil named Crunch Calhoun. In classic heist movie fashion, Crunch, once retired, is now desperate for that one last big score. In this case, the target is the Gutenberg Bible, and the plan is to replace it with a knockoff.
It’s probably inevitable for any heist movie to draw this comparison, but The Art of the Steal looks a bit like a knockoff itself, showing some strong resemblances to Ocean’s 12. Yes, unfortunately it seems to have the redundancy and predictability of Ocean’s 12 and none of the charm and wit of Ocean’s 11. And not helping matters is the fact that the film’s cast is less than all-star. The lead is a poor man’s George Clooney (Russell) who has a bit of a playful rivalry with his right hand man, who comes across as a handsome younger version of the lead — Matt Dillon, in this case not Brad Pitt. Then, playing the greenhorn misfit who is trying his best to fit in and not mess everything up, there is Jay Baruchel, a homeless man’s Matt Damon.
Of course, since this is a heist movie, there is a montage where the rest of the team dramatically assembles. Each team member has their own specific talent that will probably substitute for any attempt at characterization. You can bet their talents will all be used at separate, critical junctures. There’s the “Idea Man,” (Matt Dillon), “The Rolodex,” (Kenneth Walsh), “The Forger,” (Chris Diamantopoulos), “The Apprentice,” (Jay Baruchel) and of course, “The Wheelman” (Kurt Russell). Having the lead play a daredevil/get-away driver virtually guarantees at least one chase scene. It seems like a fair guess since they burned enough rubber in this trailer alone to go through several sets of niche wheels.
Naturally, there has to be some law enforcement trying to play catch up to the shenanigans of the lovable anti-heroes, and this seems to be the one bit of casting on par with the heist movies The Art of the Steal emulates. The accomplished Terence Stamp plays the grizzled veteran partnered with the Daily Show’s Jason Jones, who plays the ambitious youngster with a hunch.
All in all, The Art of the Steal seems like a high energy, light hearted romp that sticks close to the heist formula. It’s worth a look for anybody who likes annoying their friends by calling the twist twenty minutes into the film, or watching Kurt Russell on a motorcycle, Matt Dillion hitting people in the head and Jay Baruchel being incompetent. Here’s hoping that the fun of the movie outweighs it’s lack of original plot.