Film Scouts and Newsweek at Sundance 1999

Thick as Thieves

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Terrific genre film used to be the staple of the studios, but it's rare to find exemplary work today. Welcome to Thick as Thieves, as inventive, sardonic, and playfully derivative a gangster film as we've seen in a while. Director Scott Sanders fashions a joyfully witty piece of pulp fiction that borrows, blends, and begets a stylish and imaginative take on familiar territory. Mackin (Alec Baldwin) is a thief with retro tastes and an obsessive love for his dog. Cool, but not too cool, he's a pro's pro. So when he's set up after a job, he doesn't just take revenge; he exacts painful retribution that's meant to send a message. Meanwhile Pointy Williams, the black gang boss, whose gold chains might mislead one to underestimate his serious nature, must respond in an equally violent and vile manner. As mutual escalation threatens "business," the Mafia steps in to restore equilibrium of a sort! With Rebecca de Mornay as the detective investigating the murders and mayhem and Andre Braugher as Dink, Pointy's sophisticated lieutenant, Thick as Thieves is Elmore Leonard with a new persona. It's black versus white versus black versus whomever, the old mob and the new. With dialogue, structure, character, and sensibility; continual plot twists, and an intelligence from both the street and the academy, Sanders is a talent to watch. He has the kind of artistry studios used to sign for the long term in Hollywood's heyday.

- Geoffrey Gilmore

Directed by: Scott Sanders
Written by: Scott Sanders, Arthur Krystal, Patrick Quinn
Starring: Janeane Garofalo, André Braugher, Alec Baldwin, Michael Jai White, Ricky Harris, Rebecca De Mornay
Produced by: Jon Steingart, Glenn Zoller, Donald Zuckerman
Original Music by: Christophe Beck

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