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Art of the Steal, The


Stars: Kurt Russell, Matt Dillon, Jay Baruchel, Terence Stamp, Stephen McHattie, Katheryn Winnick, Kenneth Welsh, Chris Diamontopoulos

Director: Jonathan Sobol

A moth-eaten scam/caper thriller with faded stars. The performances of Russell, Dillon, Baruchel and Stamp smack of desperation as they try to lend life to an over-emphasised plot one of whose few virtues is a decent twist at the end.

Fresh (if that's the word for a very raddled-looking Russell) out of a Polish prison after doing five years' hard, thanks to being ratted out by half-brother Nicky (Dillon), Crunch Calhoun, a name even sillier than the film, has become a daredevil rider 'taking a dive' for a few hundred dollars, when Nicky reappears in his life, and a new scam to filch and copy a valuable book is launched, with the help of Calhoun's old gang.

Despite being crassly scripted, the film is not totally without interest; the 'surprise' at the end is quite clever, and the use of desaturated colour to express a black-and-white feel is interesting if not exactly innovative.

But supporting player McHatrtie has the dubious distinction of a contributing the worst British accent from a Hollywood actor since Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins. Unfunny outtakes during the end credits just about stagger the film to the 90-minute post. In truth, however, this old nag has collapsed long before.

David Quinlan

Canada 2013. UK Distributor: Sony. Colour by deluxe.
90 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 3.

Review date: 15 Jun 2014