It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
A criminal mastermind gathers about him a handpicked band of experts, with the intention of pulling off an incredibly complicated theft. Their plan involves disguise, the outwitting of electronic detection devices, split-second timing, daredevil acrobatics and sheer chutzpah.
And what you've got is one of my favorite genres, the Big Heist movie, known in some Eastern critical circles (but less colorfully) as the Caper Flick. There have been dozens, and there's no need to list them here. What matters is that each one follows the obligatory plot pattern, from the recruiting of the experts to the final excruciating climax (which is all the more exciting since it must take place in dead silence, with everybody padding around in sneakers).
Two new movies owe their structures to the Big Heist genre: Gordon Parks' "Shaft" (1971, which is a detective movie, too) and Sidney Lumet's "Anderson Tapes," which is comfortably within the Caper tradition and works very, very nicely.
Sean Connery, looking mean with thick black eyebrows and a thinning hairline, is the mastermind this time. He's an ex-safecracker who's just gotten out of prison. He shacks up with an old love (Dyan Cannon) who lives in an exclusive New York apartment building packed to the rafters with rich tenants and expensive possessions. His plan is to back a Mayflower van up to the building and literally strip it clean.
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