365 Films in 2017 #2: Thief (United Artists, 1981)

Michael Mann's Thief is a rare neo noir that captures the style of early noir without sacrificing any of the substance and power of the genre. Based on the 1975 novel, The Home Invaders: Confessions of a Cat Burglar, written by a real-life jewel thief, it captures the drama of hard-lived characters making the wrong decisions based on personal codes of honor. The characters are realistic and well cast and the acting is top notch. The relationship between Frank (James Caan) and Jessie (Tuesday Weld) works because Frank emotionally bares his soul to her. He needs an anchor to leave his criminal life behind and pins his hopes on her. His one last heist leaves him alone again after he is double crossed. The final long take of Frank walking down the sidewalk after dispatching his enemies is poignant and memorable. 


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