Owen Gleiberman
April 18, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Good Thief

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
109 minutes
Limited Release Date
04/02/03
performer
Nick Nolte, Ralph Fiennes, Emir Kusturica, Mark Polish, Michael Polish, Said Taghmaoui, Tcheky Karyo
director
Neil Jordan
Producer
John Wells
distributor
Fox Searchlight Pictures
author
Neil Jordan
genre
Mystery and Thriller, Comedy

We gave it a B-

Nick Nolte, at 62, has a face that’s like a crumbly piece of parchment. In Neil Jordan’s stylishly lightweight heist caper, Nolte plays Bob, a burglar, gambler, and heroin addict who gets to growl out a lot of existential film-noir pensees like ”Always play the game to the limit — damn the consequences!” Jordan has taken Bob le Flambeur, Jean-Pierre Melville’s satiny little French safecracking thriller from 1955, and frosted it with so much underworld atmosphere and ”character” that the heist is now effectively in the background. The film is rife with extravagant gestures, but there’s got to be more to a haunted romantic dream than Nick Nolte’s aura of honorable wreckage.

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