American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
"Entrapment" is the very embodiment of a star vehicle: a movie with a preposterous plot, exotic locations, absurd action sequences, and so much chemistry between attractive actors that we don't care. It stars Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones in a caper that reminded me of "To Catch a Thief," "Charade," "Topkapi" and the stunt sequences in Bond pictures. I didn't believe a second of it, and I didn't care that I didn't.
The film is about thieves. Connery plays a man named Mac, who is getting along in years but is still respected as the most resourceful master thief in the world. Jones plays Gin, who in the early scenes is established as an insurance investigator who sets an elaborate trap for Mac. I will be revealing little about the plot if I say that neither of these people is precisely as they seem.
Watching the film, I imagined the trailer. Not the movie's real trailer, which I haven't seen, but one of those great 1950s trailers where big words in fancy typefaces come spinning out of the screen, asking us to Thrill! to risks atop the world's tallest building, and Gasp! at a daring bank robbery, and Cheer! as towering adventure takes us from New York to Scotland to Malaysia. A trailer like that would be telling only the simple truth. It also would perhaps include a few tantalizing shots of Zeta-Jones lifting her leather-clad legs in an athletic ballet designed to avoid the invisible beams of security systems. And shots of a thief hanging upside-down from a 70-story building. And an audacious raid through an underwater tunnel. And a priceless Rembrandt. And a way to steal $8 billion because of the Y2K bug. And so on.
It works because it is made stylishly, because Connery and Zeta-Jones are enormously attractive actors, and because of the romantic tension between them. I got a letter the other day complaining about the age differences between the male and female leads in several recent pictures--and, to be sure, Connery at 69 and Zeta-Jones at 29 remember different wars. But the movie cannily establishes ground rules (Mac lectures that thievery is a business that permits no personal relationships), and so instead of questioning why they're erotically involved, we wish they would be.