Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Entrapment

3.5/4

Starring: Sean Connery, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Will Patton, Ving Rhames, Maury Chaykin

Rated PG-13 for Some Language, Sensuality, Violence and Drug Content

"Entrapment" is just plain good.  Mass entertainment, yes (as if that were automatically a bad thing), but for white-knuckle tension and a great story, few are better.

A valuable Rembrandt painting has just been stolen.  Insurance agent Virginia Baker (Zeta-Jones) is convinced that it was notorious thief Robert "Mac" Macdougal (Connery) who did the deed.  Her boss, Hector Cruz (Patton), reluctantly sends her to trap him, but Gin has her own agenda.  She needs Mac's help to pull off the heist of a lifetime.  Or is that just her cover?  And what exactly is Mac's role in this?

While no one would call this story anything but straightforward, director Jon Amiel (who is as underrated as they come) plays up the ambiguities enough to make this more than a standard order heist movie.  There are, in fact, three heists: the Rembrant, the mask, and the bank job at the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lampur.  All three are high-tech and terrifically exciting.  The mask heist plays dumb, but we get to see Zeta-Jones slink around in tight pants.  It's an acceptable trade-off.

It goes without saying that the performances help the film considerably.  Sean Connery is as reliable as ever, playing the "tough love" thief.  He's also a romantic, and while the chemistry between him and his co-star sizzles, their love scene is awkward because at his age, he's a little old to be playing Richard Gere.  Catherine Zeta-Jones has never been sexier, and plays her role with intelligence and a kittenish sense of mischief.  She's terrific.

Jon Amiel doesn't get the love that he deserves, and I'm not sure why that is.  He's not as flashy as David Fincher and not as grand as Steven Spielberg, but there's no denying that he has what it takes.  In addition to this, he directed "Copycat," a terrific serial killer movie that no one saw, and "Creation," the uneven but compelling biopic of Charles Darwin.  Maybe it's his lack of visual or storytelling style that makes him so easy to forget when it comes to praising a movie, but his craftsmanship is obvious.  He constructs his set-pieces, some of which are truly spectacular, with care, and knows a thing or two about pacing.  More importantly, he knows how to direct his actors to create compelling characters.

The bottom line is that this is big time fun.

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