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

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

xXx: Return of Xander Cage Movie Review

xXx: Return of Xander Cage Movie Review

It's been 15 years since Vin Diesel walked away from his XXX role, killing off...

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Advertisement
Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

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.