The Good Thief

Nolte kicks smack in Monte Carlo

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OPENS FEBRUARY 28, CERT 15, 108 MINS

Neil Jordan’s updated and “re-conceived” (well, at least he didn’t “re-imagine”) Melville’s ’50s classic Bob Le Flambeur. He’s made a bit of a hash of it, and this version’s title, plot and ending have been changed repeatedly. As one-last-heist romps go, it’s tortuously hard to follow, and the Euro-stew cast struggle with a flailing fleet of accents.

Making it watchable is another no-prisoners performance from Nick Nolte as anti-hero Bob. An American gambler-crook who’s wound up in the south of France with no money and a heroin habit, Bob’s offered a job ripping off a casino which owns priceless paintings. Asked if he’s tempted, he snarls, “I’m out of dope. I’m out of luck. I’m tempted.” He goes cold turkey, painfully.

The convoluted scam laboriously develops, with minor characters weaving in and out. Ocean’s Eleven it isn’t. Newcomer Nutsa Kukhanidze exudes presence as the girl Bob takes a shine to, though frankly she could be his granddaughter. It’s Nolte at his gnarliest, though: a grizzly bear in a glittering cage.

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