Thief dir: Michael Mann 1981
OK!!! OK. Alright. Oh god this movie has my number so hard. It’s summertime you guys and if you’re in the US you know that we are in the middle of a heat wave that keeps threatening to turn into massive thunderstorms. Shit is hot and humid and the only reasonable thing to do is grab some popsicles, open the windows, point a fan at yourself and watch a movie.
James Caan is a thief (hence the title) who wants to complete one final job that will allow him to retire to the suburbs like a “normal” person. All he needs is a girl to agree (Tuesday Weld) a house in the burbs, a child and to get his father figure (Willie Nelson) out of prison.
WHAT ELSE DO YOU WANT?! James Belushi? check. Dennis Farina playing a henchman? check. Crazy synth soundtrack by Tangerine Dream? check. Wet streets, nighttime, James Caan strutting around in tight jeans, cowboy boots and a leather jacket paired with a gold chain and no shirt? CHECK! A cameo by the Green Mill cocktail lounge in Chicago? Oh yes, check.
I really love Michael Mann. After spending years working on television this was his first feature and he came out swinging. The style and attitude of this movie is strong as hell.
It’s got bad ass and cool down pat and I was consistently surprised by the dialogue, which is incredible. There’s a beautiful scene in a coffee shop between James Caan and Tuesday Weld where he’s trying to convince her to be his suburban wifey. “often cited as the film’s high point, Caan has long considered the scene his favorite of his career” (wikipedia).
Every search I’ve made for this movie also brings up Drive (2011) and people have referenced it as though it’s a remake or homage and although there are some tonal similarities and referential shots they are not terribly similar. You will not go wrong having a double feature night with these two movies.