Stolen

"Weak"

Stolen Review


Looks can be awfully deceiving. Harold J. Smith's face has a rubbery, off-putting look from a long-running case of skin cancer. This noted, Smith never seems the least bit self-conscious about his looks and it hasn't hindered his progress in becoming one of the more prolific art theft detectives in the world.

Rebecca Dreyfus' documentary on the infamous 1990 heist of 13 irreplaceable artworks has a story to tell. Amongst the 13 artworks is Vermeer's "The Concert," a priceless piece of art from a seminal artist who died young and only painted a little over 30 pieces. The heist, which took place at Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner museum, is one of the few art robberies in U.S. history where none of the pieces have been recovered. With vigor, Dreyfus and her guileful gumshoe give it another crack.

As they trot from New York to Boston to London, it starts to become clear that there is plenty of fascination here, but not much else. It's a hoot to watch Smith go head to head with a master criminal and to see him chum it up with a Scotland Yard agent and an ex-fence for stolen artwork, but these moments are bogged down by heady doses of overdone academia.

When talking about the history of the acquisition of the paintings and Isabella Stewart Gardner's life while trying to start her museum, Dreyfus often withdraws into letters between Gardner (voiced by Blythe Danner) and her art advisor, Bernard Berenson (voiced by Campbell Scott) about several acquisitions. To be blunt, these digressions would be at home at a narcolepsy convention. For what reason we are actually learning about Gardner when we are given so little about Smith and the actual heist, one may never know.

Things get good when Smith gets a lead to a man who might know where the pieces are. Politics become more important than recovering the art when the suspect asks for immunity for any crimes that might stem from the knowledge he can give. Then, when Smith goes to London to investigate a lead, the possibility of reputed gangster Whitey Bulger being involved gives a level of intrigue to the film that has been muddled in monotonous, if not arguably integral interviews with art historians about the history of Vermeer and "The Concert." Dreyfus, however, quickly strays away from Bulger and the Irish underground and goes into the history of the museum itself, which would be great in correlation with how the place was robbed and the architectural flaws, but that connection is never explored with much interest.

What will keep you watching is Smith and his conversations with gangsters and law officials, which adds up to half of a really good heist film. Smith passed away while they were putting the film together, and it succeeds at preserving his charming personality and his love for the hunt. It's just too bad that the love of the hunt is never given over to the audience with equal ardor.



Stolen

Facts and Figures

Run time: 96 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 6th September 2012

Box Office USA: $0.3M

Budget: $35M

Distributed by: Millennium Entertainment

Production compaines: Millenium Films, Nu Image Films, Saturn Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 16%
Fresh: 3 Rotten: 16

IMDB: 5.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Rebecca Dreyfus

Producer: Susannah Ludwig

Starring: as Will Montgomery, as Riley Simms, as Cab Driver, as Alison, as Tim Harlend, as Fletcher, Michelle Torres as Tourist, Tanc Sade as Pete, Marcus Lyle Brown as Matthews, as Hoyt, Bernadette Ralphs as Kiosk Girl, Emily West as Frightened Girl in Car, Tom Waite as FBI Agent (uncredited)

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

On the Road Movie Review

On the Road Movie Review

Wolf Alice fans are likely to be rather disappointed by this hybrid documentary-drama about the...

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Skilfully made by Swedish filmmaker Janus Metz (the award-winning Armadillo), this film is essentially a...

Advertisement
The Glass Castle Movie Review

The Glass Castle Movie Review

There are quite a few terrific moments in this true story, based on the memoir...

Home Again Movie Review

Home Again Movie Review

Reese Witherspoon is so likeable that she can carry even the most hackneyed of romantic...

Brimstone Movie Review

Brimstone Movie Review

An unnerving Western with a sharp female perspective, this film is a series of gruesome...

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Two years ago, Kingsman: The Secret Service seemed to come out of nowhere, ruffling feathers...

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

This biopic about Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne may look like the usual lushly...

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.