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

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

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...

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.