The View From Here

Edinburgh Film Festival -- The Maiden Heist

Michael Bonner

As films go, it’s hard to ignore a movie where the top-line talent is Christopher Walken, William H Macy and Morgan Freeman – three actors, it hardly needs saying, who are pretty much UNCUT incarnate. It’s a shame, though, that this fortuitous convergence of talent isn’t given a better vehicle. That’s not say The Maiden Heist is a bad film – it certainly isn’t – but it perhaps lacks the oomph you’d think they’d merit.

Directed by Brit Peter Hewitt – he who made Sliding Doors – it’s an amiable, if lightweight caper movie, where the three leads play veteran museum security guards who decide to rob their favourite exhibits when a new curator plans to change the collection. The pleasure, inevitably, is watching the three of them play off each other. Walken is quietly intense, Freeman laid back and amiable, Macy borderline neurotic. To some degree, they’re all playing to type: in the opening sequence, Walken’s Roger drifts in a fantasy whereby the museum is invaded by armed robbers, whom he dispatches with both guns blazing – exactly as you’d imagine Walken would do in pretty much any film he’s appeared in with a vowel in the title. There’s plenty of fun watching them bicker and fanny around conducting midnight dry runs of the heist dressed in balaclavas. There’s great support, too, from Marcia Gay Harden as Roger’s awful, crass (but kind-hearted) wife.

It’s all very sweet, good-natured fare. But, like I said, you can’t really stop wishing these three dudes had been working with meatier, more substantial material.


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