Shown on UK TV as ‘The Heist’, this promised a lot with a great trio of ageing lead actors in Christopher Walken, Morgan Freeman and William H Macy as security guards trying to steal the exhibits they love so much from the museum in which they work, not for profit, but just for the love of the art.
The first half hour is probably the high point of the film as we have scene-setting and the planning of the heist using a model museum (and a squeakily funny performance from Marcia Gay Harden as Walken’s wife, in his boring suburban home) – after that it is OK, and fairly entertaining, but these guys have the potential to do so much more, and I just felt a little bit let-down that there wasn’t more to this.
Macy’s character, for example, who cavorts in a manner unbecoming to a security guard with his beloved statue when the museum is closed – this is alluded to, but not expanded on. Walken’s character is clearly a frustrated intellectual, but this is put aside for a bit of farcical fun. Freeman’s character loves his cats, showing a sensitive side, but there is little development beyond that. They are all obsessive about the art they see around them every day at work – but we as the viewers don’t feel that obsession.
I wanted to like this, and I did think the idea where they plan to get the real pieces before they get sold to Denmark and replace them with perfect fakes (‘Operation Urgent Fury’), but it just doesn’t quite have the right level of, I don’t know, humour? perception? art appreciation?
Peter Hewitt directs, so this has a British feel despite its American stars, but there’s something missing.