It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
"Harry in Your Pocket" is a curiously affecting little movie that never quite manages to do what it wants to, but tries hard and has some success along the way. It's a movie about a cannon mob, which is to say a gang of pickpockets, but it's not a caper movie and it's not really about criminals either. That's because the pickpockets in the movie don't think of themselves as outlaws so much as a dying breed of dedicated professionals.
That's especially true of Walter Pidgeon, who turns up as the aging "drop" (that's the guy who takes the poke, which is to say the wallet, from the cannon, which is to say the front-line pickpocket, so that the cannon is never found holding if he gets caught). Pidgeon and James Coburn have a professional relationship that's apparently survived many years, and would perhaps have survived for more had they not taken on two young "stalls" (which is to say people who distract the mark). The stalls are Michael Sarrazin and Trish Van Devere, and of the two, I would say that Miss Van Devere is easily the most distracting.
Coburn hitches up with the two youngsters mainly because he is hot for Miss Van Devere, an attitude she does nothing to discourage. Sarrazin doesn't try very hard to prevent Coburn from taking his girl away, mainly because Sarrazin is more interested in becoming a great cannon than a great lover. He doesn't have much aptitude in either area but finds that pocket-picking is more easily learned.
He persuades Pidgeon to be his teacher, inspiring one of the more unlikely student-guru relationships in recent movies. I never thought I'd ever see Walter Pidgeon, no less, playing a cocaine-sniffing pocket-picking instructor, but then there are stranger things in heaven and earth, etc. Pidgeon is secretly pleased to teach the young man. "Nobody has any patience these days," he complains. "Young people don't have the dedication to learn a craft.