So once again we have survived.

Thief

tn_thiefTHIEF is a pure dose of most of what I love about Michael Mann. It’s moody, atmospheric and macho as hell. It matter-of-factly drops us into a gritty underworld, makes us feel like we’re witnessing the real deal, and puts us on the side of a guy who has no business being the good guy except that he lives by more of a code than the other guys do. Not even really a code of honor, just a self-serving code of independence, but one that we can loosely apply to more ethical aspects of our own lives.

By today’s standards it’s an arty movie, full of long, quiet scenes, not a bunch of noises to tell you it’s exciting. It opens with a 10 minute heist sequence where everything goes right. No one gives chase or almost sees them. They’re just very professional about it and perform their jobs well. And it doesn’t need tension. It’s fascinating without it.

It’s a movie that’s low on exposition, high on uncomfortable moments where we aren’t expected to agree with the protagonist (like the aggressive way he courts Jessie [Tuesday Weld], and then the heartless way he cuts her off, treating her as a property that’s been tying him down). But also it has plenty of moments of badassness, not shirking its duty to deliver on the genre goods. Its closest modern equivalent is DRIVE, which at times plays as an homage or ripoff of THIEF. But that’s a character, believe it or not, with more heart.

A getaway driver is actually the first guy we see in the movie. But of course this one is about the thief, James Caan as Frank. He’s a veteran Chicago safecracker who works with a few guys he trusts, like his partner Barry (Jim Belushi, no shit, in his first major role). He owns a used car lot as a cover and a bar as a phone service.  So he’s kind of a bigger player than my favorite fictional thief Parker, but he has a similar sort of brazen stubbornness. He loses some diamonds when his fence gets killed for skimming from the mob, so he finds out who’s responsible, walks right into the front company, past all the secretaries, into the guy’s office and threatens him. Trust, me, if Frank has any fucks, he’s never gonna give ’em.

mp_thiefBut there’s this waitress that he likes, Jessie, and he has a vision of settling down and having a family. It seems more like a wife is something he wants to put on his trophy shelf than that he actually cares about her. He hasn’t even told her what he does yet. But he’s the kind of guy that gets what he wants. I mean, a vault never stopped him.

So he takes the kind of offer he’s intentionally avoided all these years, a job with an organized crime guy (Robert Prosky, LAST ACTION HERO, in his first movie). It has its advantages (the guy says he’ll look out for him, and proves it by hooking him up for an illegal adoption). But it also brings all this bullshit he never had to deal with before, like all the sudden all the crooked cops in town are all over his ass shaking him down for a cut of his take on a job he hasn’t even done yet.

Anybody else would learn to play the game, give the cops some money so they leave him alone. Frank tells them to go fuck themselves. There’s an amazing sequence where he’s been getting things in place for a big score and it’s about ready to go and then all the sudden some cops are waiting for him. They pull him over, smash his tail light, drag him in and take turns roughing him up and lecturing him about how things are supposed to work in this town.

“God forbid you work for a living,” he says, between beatings. It seems like it’s mostly the principle of the thing. He’s not gonna give free money to these loafers. What kind of an example would it set?

When they finally let him go and he still refuses to pay up they have decided to get revenge by dogging his ass and catching him in the act of whatever he’s about to do. They have a tracker on his car and a bunch of tail vehicles and lookouts, and they follow him as he drives around and stops off somewhere. They try to lay low a little but they keep after him. There he goes, he’s on the move again, let’s go boys, let’s keep on him. They keep following and we hear the quiet blip of the tracking device getting louder as the hypnotic Tangerine Dream score swells and the camera glides ahead in traffic, swoops around and shows us the front of a bus that says it’s headed for Des Moines.

Whoops. The tracker may have found a new vehicle.

Like many Mann movies it’s all about the details of the process. You don’t get an explanation. You get to piece together how it all works by watching them do it. They spend weeks figuring out how to deal with the alarm. Then they’re like construction workers. They cut through the roof, go in, cut through the safe. That’s an involved process that requires a welding torch and a long metal pole that they heat up on the end and use to pierce the vault. Caan was actually taught how to bust a safe for real. One of the consultants was on the FBI’s ten most wanted list. Caan is legit. If any valuables ever went missing on the set of ERASER I bet I know who did it.

Of course, like a great crime novel, it’s also the characters and the way they talk that makes it run. The bad guys are convincing mafia types, because they just look like old guys with bellies and glasses, and they act like his buddy, and then when they turn on him they have that ice cold look in their eyes, they’re fucking monsters. When he’s looking up at Leo telling him that he owns him and what he’s gonna do to his family to punish him it is legitimately terrifying.

still_thief

But not everybody’s a bad guy, exactly. I love the scene where Frank visits his mentor Okla (Willie Nelson) in the joint, and the old man wants to be busted out or something. Frank tries to talk sense into him, reminds him he only has ten months left on his sentence. Okla says:

“Well I got angina somethin somethin somethin, and I’m not gonna last ten months, and I don’t want to die in here.”

That’s really what he calls it, “angina somethin somethin somethin.” He doesn’t have time to fuck around and learn the full name of it. I don’t blame him.

So, “You got it!” Frank says.

Here is your regular reminder that the people who do the Razzies don’t know jack about shit: in the 1982 awards Tangerine Dream’s amazing work on this film was nominated for “Worst Musical Score.” (It lost to John Barry’s score for THE LEGEND OF THE LONE RANGER.) Michael Cimino won “Worst Director” that year for HEAVEN’S GATE, which, like THIEF, is now available from the Criterion Collection.

The score is a classic, and a huge part of why the mood of the movie is so strong, so it’s funny that in an interview on the disc Mann says “I’m still not 100% sure I made the right decision.” He thinks maybe it should’ve been all blues, which does work in the great scene with the Mighty Joe Young Band performing in the bar.

And the music at the finale definitely gets more rhythmic and then goes into a long, soulful guitar solo. It even reminded me of the way Mann used rock music in the open and close of JERICHO MILE.

So maybe it would work to go straight up blues, but come on, Mann. Best not to regret perfection. Plus, I’m not sure I buy him talking about these guys being working class and what not. A blues score might go a little too far in pretending like we should feel sorry for him. Might feel like a lie.

Anyway, speaking of Mann’s TV movie JERICHO MILE, as much as I loved that one his first “real movie” here is a gigantic leap ahead, and especially in visuals. My God, the way he shoots Chicago at night, light reflecting off wet streets, or at the end when he’s standing in his car lot at night, flames behind him, hundreds of lightbulbs hanging above him, reflecting on the surfaces of the shiny cars in front of him… I don’t say this much, but “wow.”

A big time THIEF fan I know hates the Criterion Blu-Ray, he says they turned it too blue, not matching 35mm prints he’s seen. (The notes say they used Mann’s own answer print for color reference, so I don’t know.) Whatever the case is, whether this is how it was meant to be seen or it’s bald-faced hue revisionism, it’s the most gorgeous transfer I’ve seen in a long damn time. Absolutely stunning. Even if the movie wasn’t that good I’m sure I’d be mesmerized.

Luckily it is that good. In my opinion one of the top crime films achieved by man so far.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 21st, 2015 at 10:21 am and is filed under Crime, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

51 Responses to “Thief”

  1. The only razzie nomination the POLICE ACADEMY series ever received was for Brian Wilson’s LETS GO TO HEAVEN IN MY CAR from POLICE ACADEMY 4. “Ha ha, take that you disturbed, abused, has-been loser!”

    Anyway, THIEF rules, Tangerine Dream rules, and that photo up there honestly looks like its from a contemporary film.

  2. First off: hooray!

    Awesome review. Hopefully my clamoring for it wasn’t too annoying.

    I love this movie. One of my Top 5, perhaps. Top 10 for sure. Amen to the Tangerine Dream score, to Caan’s awesome performance, to the way the bad guys seem like ordinary guys until they’re terrifying, the general moodiness, et cetera…

    Some moments I love that didn’t get mentioned in the review:

    The moment where, after cracking the safe, Frank just sits back and smokes a cigarette.

    Frank’s confession: “I change cars like other guys change their fucking shoes. I’m a [i]thief.[/i] I’ve been in [i]prison[/i], all right?”

    Frank’s big speech about “not giving a fuck” in prison: “Forget time. You gotta get to nothing. When you achieve that attitude, you can survive.” (Which leads to that great rampage ending, and the way Frank lives down to that attitude by literally burning his whole life to the ground.)

    I love the way people talk in Mann’s movies in general, I think his dialogue is underrated and undervalued. It’s hard-boiled with the occasional theatrical flourish (like a couple of Caan’s monologues here, or the “You move through the detritus” speech in Heat).

    Vern, you used the word “professional” in the review and I think that’s another great pleasure of watching Mann movies – just seeing professionals at work, doing what they do. Especially because Mann is such an avid researcher, and he makes his actors do the research too so they have the physicality down pat. Even in an adaptation of (essentially) a romance novel, like Last of the Mohicans, that professionalism is still important. It’s there in Daniel Day Lewis’ body language, or the way his eyes are always moving around, always aware of his surroundings. Michael Mann characters look like they know they what they’re doing, they don’t look like actors pretending. (Some people might argue Chris Hemsworth wasn’t believable as a hacker, but what do those people know? One of Mann’s hacker consultants was a 7’ body builder who had indeed spent time in prison).

    Those are some of the reasons Mann is my favourite filmmaker, and why I’ll watch pretty much anything he’s involved in. I hope it doesn’t take another six years to get another movie from him.
    And maybe this a bit of a weird hope but before he retires, I hope he does a movie with Ben Affleck, who is an avowed huge fan of his. The Town was kind of like Affleck’s impression of him, and it was highly enjoyable, but I’d still like to see the real thing.

  3. I was just about to post “JTS come on down…” lol

    I never understood how there are people that rank MANHUNTER over this. I think MANHUNTER was probably Mann’s weakest from that era (yes I think LA TAKEDOWN is better). THIEF on the other hand is pretty much the blueprint for where he would go in his prime years. A lot of the same themes you see in COLLATERAL and even THE INSIDER are echoed from this one and Cann gives one of the greatest understated performances ever.

  4. Broddie – THIEF to me is alot like another cop movie from that era in BLACK RAIN. “Cop movies” made by respectable directors, both look gorgeous, both have alot of good shit going for them….and ultimately both are just OK. More ambitious than most cop movies from that era, but that’s about it.

    Abel Ferrara in his KING OF NEW YORK commentary claimed that Mann tried to convince him to cut Walken’s-going-out-with-a-whimper death in favor of him walking up the subway steps then cut to black. (I’m glad Abel said no because that would’ve been too much like THIEF.)

    Also THIEF is the shit.

    “Michael Cimino won “Worst Director” that year for HEAVEN’S GATE, which, like THIEF, is now available from the Criterion Collection.”

    And that folks is today’s version of a good gentle Vern Burrrrrrn!

  5. I’m sorry, I meant MANHUNTER (not THIEF) when I was dissing it.

  6. Great review and a great film. I have been looking forward to Vern reviewing this one since the suggestions section was launched back in the day. THIEF is an excellent, film with strong direction, filmatism, cinematography, acting, and music. The beautiful neon tinted imagery and classic Tangerine Dream score are so powerful it makes for an intoxicating combination. The music and visuals are so strong as perfect as this movie is part of me wishes there was an alternate cut with no dialog and only music.

  7. to elucidate my opinion on the color-timing of the Criterion blu-ray, here is how the image posted above looked at every 35mm screening & every other video release prior to the Criterion blu-ray:

  8. To JTS’ point about Affleck, I thought THE TOWN was much closer to THIEF than HEAT. HEAT is more of a sprawling epic following several people, where THIEF centers around one character and the intertwining of his personal and professional lives. I’d go as far even to say that THE TOWN is closer to it then DRIVE, which has a few strong similarities. Refn even said he feels it’s much closer to MANHUNTER which I can see a little bit.

    What this is to me is the rawest form of what he would later shape and change with MANHUNTER, MIAMI VICE and ultimately HEAT, which marries his journalistic sense as a dramatist that came from knowing the real kinds of people who do these things, with the skill he had acquired in all that time. None of that takes away from THIEF being able to stand on it’s own as a great film however. And nearly all of that, besides the direction, is the belief you have in Caan’s performance. It’s pure and raw within itself too.

  9. Chibitachop, I have THIEF on blu and like Vern I think it looks amazing. I am curious, THIEF is available on Netflix so are they streaming the Criterion transfer or another one. It is presented in HD.

  10. I have always thought the Razzies were a dumb waste of time, but to hear they selected this score as the worst of the year is proof of their irrelevance. Seriously the fact that the Razzies continue to exsist or have any cultural relevance at all is a complete head scratcher.

  11. Re: Manhunter

    I like it a lot, and I don’t think it’s the weakest Mann movie of the 80s. For me, that would be The Keep, which is the only Mann movie period that I would come close to calling a ‘bad movie’ or at least ‘a movie I don’t like to watch.’ It’s visually stylish at times and has some interesting ideas, but I wasn’t engaged by the characters or the plot at all. And I’d be interested in hearing a defense of the ending, because I think it’s embarrassingly cheesy, which is a rare thing for a Mann movie, which mostly have awesome endings (like this one, and like my all-time-favorite, Heat).

  12. The Original Paul

    July 21st, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    Man, I gotta watch this one. I’ve seen ROAD WARRIOR, let’s take THIEF for a spin.

    While I agree with the sentiments here regarding the razzies (they nominated SPICE WORLD for “Worst picture”, what the fuck?) I also think that criticising them has become as tired and irrelevant as the Razzies themselves. I don’t think anybody cares any more, guys. Let them be.

  13. Chibitachop is indeed the unnamed THIEF color purist mentioned in the review. That still comparison is pretty persuasive. My version looks blue like PAYBACK before it got un-blue-ified in the director’s cut. Which release did your version come from?

  14. Charles – I completely agree that that the Criterion Thief blu-ray looks amazing by every possible technical assessment except the shift in the color timing, which is quite drastic to the point that during many parts of the Criterion transfer human skin tones which are lifelike on all previous versions are shifted to be teal as in the shot Vern posted. It’s not “bad” in any objective sense – it just isn’t true/accurate to any/all previous versions of the film.

    I just checked the version on Netflix and from a brief skimming it is definitely not the Criterion version so anyone interested to compare the color-timing between versions should A/B between that & the Criterion to see what I’m talking about. It’s unfortunate because I’m sure the Criterion transfer is superior in all other aspects, and since the Criterion is “director approved” one can only assume this color shift is at the behest of Mann himself which leads back to ye olde authorial debate as to whether or not it is appropriate for a director to retroactively change their films way after-the-fact for a video release.

    Personally, I find the Criterion blu-ray of Thief as offensively unwatchable as the George Lucas “Star Wars” special-edition re-releases, but I completely understand that others who don’t have the original non-teal version so deeply embedded in their memories would not find this new version problematic.

  15. Another highlight for me (even if, admittedly, it’s maybe more of a traditional action-movie type touch than a Mann-specific one) is the way the intense silence of the final break-in, up until Frank shoots Leo — then the finale music kicks in and continues throughout the rest of the shootout, all the way into the end credits. Such a great ending.

  16. Vern – the transfer my screencap came from is an encoding of an HD-TV broadcast. However, I discovered during tangential internet searches related to this discussion that Arrow includes the original theatrical version on their blu-ray which I didn’t know until right now so OCD maniacs like me can just get that one instead. Here is their post about the versions:

  17. Is this a first time viewing for you Vern or just one that you felt like reviewing at this time?

  18. OCD maniacs with region-free Blu-ray players hopefully.

  19. No no, Drive is a ripoff of The Driver, by Walter Hill, you should really review that, you’ll love it

  20. It’s kind of amazing how Mann’s style and themes came together so beautifully in his first theatrical film. I went on a big James Caan kick last year, and it’s a shame that he didn’t get more big lead roles. There’s this and The Gambler, and he’s absolutely fantastic in both. On one level, Caan is a pretty ideal representation of masculinity for his generation. On another level, he was still able to show a tremendous amount of emotional vulnerability when the script called for it. Just reading this review made me want to go back and rewatch the movie. And, yes, scene with Caan smoking the cigarette after the big heist is goddamn killer.

  21. Chibitachop, thanks for the info and link.

  22. The Original Paul

    July 21st, 2015 at 10:11 pm

    And if MANHUNTER is Mann’s “weakest” movie of the decade, his output must be pretty damn good, because I thought that was a really good watch.

  23. Sergio – I do love THE DRIVER. Due for a rewatch, but here’s my review from 2004: http://outlawvern.com/2009/02/24/double-team/

  24. Caan and the guys in his crew were educated in the art of stealing by real life thief John Santucci, who plays Urizzi in the movie. There must have been some interesting conversations between him and real life cop Dennis Farina on set. It’s also fun to see so many Mann regulars at this early stage. Mainly TV Mann, but still…

  25. That’s an interesting comment you made, RBatty, about Caan’s effortless masculinity. These days, film masculinity is coextensive with silent broodiness; the less you emote, the manlier you are. How did we end up at this point? Caan roles like this and Sonny in the Godfather are no less masculine for the fact that the character would be a raging ball of id, constantly demonstrating affection, anger, regret, etc. I got nothing against the strong stoic type (your Porters, your Dirty Harrys), but Caan does seem to tap into a different, less explored vein of masculinity.

  26. Don’t get it twisted I like MANHUNTER. I love the Lecter series and it’s my favorite adaptation of RED DRAGON so far though I expect the TV show to easily top it starting next week. I’m just saying it’s not the certified classic that the internet wants people to think either and no as cool and calculated as he was Cox is not a better Lecter than Hopkins in SILENCE. There are too many moments that drag and they’re countered by moments that aren’t fleshed out enough. So the movie always came across as very uneven and somewhat anti-climatic to me. With that said I still haven’t seen THE KEEP so JTS may well be right in stating that it’s pretty much amateur hour compared to MANHUNTER.

  27. James Caan was cut from a different cloth than today’s so called leading men. He was legitimate Lee Marvin and Burt Lancaster successor. Where as I can’t think of anybody that has really properly carried the torch since the days of Caan and his contemporaries like Nicholson, Duvall, DeNiro and Pacino.

  28. The limited edition Arrow Video bluray of THIEF has both the director’s cut and the theatrical cut. The theatrical cut comes with the original colour timing. Also, the picture quality, while derived from the same master as the Criterion bluray, is slightly better on the Arrow Video bluray.

    I never thought I’d say this but I actually prefer Mann’s colour palette swap. It gives the film a cold, industrial feel that compliments the story and the characters.

  29. RE: Blue Tint of the Criterion Release

    If you recall when the French Connection was released for it’s deluxe anniversary super edition, the transfer was supposed to be supervised by Friedkin himself, and was really high contrast, and really, really fucking blue. People assumed he pulled a Lucas even though he kept insisting the transfer looked exactly the way he saw it in the veiw-finder when he was filming.

    Finally, he sat down and watched the thing and proceeded to flip out because it was really high contrast, and really fucking blue. Turns out, the manufacturer ran the master through some auto-color-correct program before burning, because that’s what they did with every master.

    So one has to wonder if Thief suffered the same fate. Although, one would think Criterion would be on that shit (French Connection was a regular studio job)

  30. Seeing this movie at age 11 helped me understand how movies could be so much more than entertainment. It showed me that art lives in certain movies and provided with an enthralling and unnerving emotional experience. I will always appreciate Thief for that.
    This movie is so Chicago it almost hurts my mind. The dialogue, Caan’s accent, and especially the cop’s accents are so spot on. “You seem like descent guy. You can take a trimming and youre probably fun to go to the track with”. I love that scene.
    Also, Caan’s bar The Green Mill is down the street from me, and I dip in a few times a month to get a cold one.

  31. 2nd only to Heat in my Mann favorites. Even above The Insider, Last of the Mohicans, and Collateral.

    And yes the CC blu-ray is lovely, could give a fuck about the cool blue. How cool and menacing is that scene where Leo, the camera lookin’ up from Cann’s perspective.

  32. Concerning the masculinity, there seemed something genuine to it that you really can’t get close to without it going over the top and silly. Mann himself isn’t immune from it either, parts of the MIAMI VICE movie and BLACKHAT come off a bit that way. But he’s still the best at it.

    Also in response to Broddie’s statement, there are those kinds of leading men today but it’s more often than not you see them on TV. What Timothy Olyphant (same for Walton Goggins too) did on JUSTIFIED could go against what any of those guys did easily. The guy on LONGMIRE is doing okay with it too. Then again it could be argued those aren’t modern characters, just old-school Wild West sheriffs in a modern backdrop.

  33. I love the score, too. It also borrows liberally from a few compositions from their FORCE MAJEURE album (the music in the DES MOINES scene is a remixed version of “Thru Metamorphic Rocks”, the beginning of which features later in the film). The real gem (no pun intended) is the track which opens the film.

    The Razzie stuff just goes to show that sometimes if you’re ahead of the curve at the time it isn’t as well-regarded in the moment as it will be later. This was a year before the equally groundbreaking score for BLADE RUNNER came out, which for whatever reason wouldn’t get a proper release until a decade later.

    What’s interesting to me regarding the score is that Mann used Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” as temp for the end, particularly the guitar solo I imagine. It’s not something I’ve ever seen mentioned but he went to that well again for MANHUNTER.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsWq1MtI3vI

  34. I love the score, too. It also borrows liberally from a few compositions from their FORCE MAJEURE album (the music in the DES MOINES scene is a remixed version of “Thru Metamorphic Rocks”, the beginning of which features later in the film). The real gem (no pun intended) is the track which opens the film.

    The Razzie stuff just goes to show that sometimes if you’re ahead of the curve at the time it isn’t as well-regarded in the moment as it will be later. This was a year before the equally groundbreaking score for BLADE RUNNER came out, which for whatever reason wouldn’t get a proper release until a decade later.

    What’s interesting to me regarding the score is that Mann used Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” as temp for the end, particularly the guitar solo I imagine. It’s not something I’ve ever seen mentioned but he went to that well again for MANHUNTER.

  35. AnimalRamirez1976

    July 22nd, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    My favorite Michael Mann movie and possibly my favorite James Caan movie. (I don’t count Godfather as a James Caan movie; that’s more like a movie-movie).

    Nietzsche said that Buddhism was a nihilistic religion, because it’s ultimate purpose is the annihilation of the self. He didn’t mean it as a compliment, but I sometimes think that Mann read that and said “Yes! The annihilation of the self! Cool!” He gets that across with a minimal amount of fluff and exposition. Heat is an hour longer than Thief because it spells out, sometimes several times, what Thief implies but leaves unstated. Of course, Heat also had the additional theme of duality, so maybe that accounts for the extra run time.

    Was this the first movie to end with a smash-cut to black?

    Does Jim Belushi have the most badass credibility of any former SNL cast member? How much cred does Eddie Murphy have for 48 Hours and Beverly Hills Cop?

    Thus endeth the rambling.

  36. AnimalRamirez1976

    July 22nd, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    Also great shout-out for The Gambler. Not a badass movie, but also a very nuanced and convincing portrayal of a criminal subculture. Recommended.

  37. That diner scene with Tuesday Weld was top-shelf. Cann showed how cool he could be. These young guys today don’t have that type charisma he put into that scene. This with his work in The Gambler -wow what a one/two punch.

  38. One of the more unsung 80’s masterpieces.

  39. There’s a really good interview with Mann by Robert Rodriguez on a show on his El Rey Network called THE DIRECTORS CHAIR. They talk about THIEF a bit and a few other highlights of his career. They also talk a bit about his pre-THIEF career in television. I’m quite interested in POLICE STORY now with how he described it.

    Michael Mann On The Long Odysseys of 'Heat' And 'Ferrari' - Toronto Q&A

    EXCLUSIVE: “So you write a story about a movie I’m not doing, and you make the first time Al Pacino and Robert De Niro share the screen together an afterthought?" That's my recollection of the firs...

    There’s also this epic interview with him about HEAT mostly, but also talks quite a bit about his upcoming Enzo Ferarri project.

    Also talk from a separate article in Variety that Fox is planning on a 20th Anniversary Blu-ray/DVD of HEAT (they recently acquired home video rights from nearly all of WB’s Regency titles).

  40. Vern, I think you should re-visit and review Heat, particularly after this movie. I think you might appreciate it even more now. But I’m with you in terms of Thief being one of the best crime films ever. Multiple great performances, including maybe the career best from Caan, and just stunning visuals and a score/music style that was constantly homaged/mimced/copied to death.

  41. He said he would continue his Mann retrospective this year, so it certainly will come at some point.

  42. Been listening to a lot of soundtracks lately, the instrumental ones, not the mchappy meal tie-in ones where Eminem does a bland song or two for a commercial grab like SOUTHPAW.

    Howard Shores TLOTR got a lot of play, as did THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS by Edelman and Jones (the cd says it was recorded in 2001 but the films from 92, so it may have been rerecorded? It sounds exactly the same as the dvd though).

    The LOST THEMESes I’ve been getting into also count as soundtracks because John Carpenter, and I’m about to order ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK and THEY LIVE so I can’t wait for those.

    One of the more interesting ones has been GONE GIRL, by Reznor and Ross. Weird and hypnotic, as you’d expect.

    Hans Zimmers BVS is okay too.

    But the icing has been Tangerine Dreams THIEF which I can easily put in my top 5 soundtracks. It ticks all the right boxes for my tasteabilities. All-consuming synth, emotional callbacks to the film, cool guitar work via Flange and Ibanez Tube Screamer, resulting in electronic cinematic orgasm.

  43. I like to listen to JOHN WICK-THE MUSIC. I love a good electronic score.

  44. I’m a big fan of scores. As far as electronic scores, BLADE RUNNER has THIEF beat but by a slim margin in my estimation. In less capable hands these movies would have had rather stock scores more typical of their genre. Ahead of their time in a way because electronic scores wouldn’t be the norm in more commercial films until at least the first BEVERLY HILLS COP.

    I think Zimmer, in working with Christopher Nolan, is on the absolute top of his game. Even more than he was with Ridley Scott, with whom he’s done several great scores too. But with Nolan there is as much emotional depth as there is a grand scale. His work on INTERSTELLAR might be the best thing he’s done since THE THIN RED LINE. So obviously I can’t wait to see what they have coming next, it being a World War II movie.

  45. Zimmers score for BVS also has the anarchic shredding of Junkie XL going for it. I agree it’s a rich score, more than the theatrical cut deserved which hopefully the directors cut will do justice. The Batman Suite is an epic, standout piece of music.

  46. For a second there Shoot I thought you said JOHN WICK – THE *MUSICAL*. That needs to exist. It will change Broadway, and usher in world peace all at once.

  47. The soundtrack for ON DEADLY GROUND is now on Spotify. For anyone that is interested. That score is pretty great in my opinion.

  48. Man I hope they include the theatrical cut on the bluray. The one the commoners could not stand.

  49. Poe: SOUTHPAW was actually developed as a starring role for Eminem before he changed his mind, so his involvement in the project wasn’t really a commercial grab. I have no fondness for Eminem, nor have I seen SOUTHPAW, but I had to research it for work and this info simply will not leave my head, so there you go.

    THIEF is probably Tangerine Dream’s best score, but you should also check out their soundtrack for SORCERER, their first movie job. It came out in 1977 so it’s way, way, way ahead of its time. I also have a real soft spot for their work on RISKY BUSINESS. They only did about an EP’s worth of tracks for it (and many of those I was surprised to learn were revamped versions of suite sections they’d recorded for earlier albums) but every song is dreamy but driving in that way Tangerine Dream had.

    Also I had an ex who wanted to fuck to it a lot so I have a lot of good connotations with that soundtrack. That’s how I got into the band in the first place, in fact. There’s a lot of terrible music I’d be willing to suffer through for sex, but Tangerine Dream stuck with me long after the sex stopped. I now have like 30 of their albums, all worth listening to.

  50. Yeah I need to get around to SORCERER. I never fucked to RISKY BUSINESS

  51. …but I had a girlfriend who liked to make out to the TOP GUN soundtrack. We were in the Danger Zone often, but I never scored with her!

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