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The Thomas Crown Affair DVD

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Went with my mom.  My sister-in-law and step-sister thought it was pretty good.

The plot is fairly simple.  A filthy rich guy (Pierce Brosnan) steals a painting from a museum.  The insurance investigator (Rene Russo) is incredibly talented and beautiful.  They play cat-and-mouse games and fall for each other.

Dennis Leary plays the NYPD detective, and it's a good part for him.  He's moved away from the roles where he spouts his standup rants.  This role he gets to be smart, a little caustic, and insightful.

The various diversions and subterfuges used in the museum were quite clever.  They also made interesting and repeated references to the "Nameless Businessman in a Bowler" painting.

There was some minor verisimilitude lapses with the thermal cameras they were using for surveillance in that part of the museum.  Those are fine for seeing if someone is there, but you can't use them for identification.  Also, as a plot device they said that thermal cameras need 10 degrees from ambient to see someone in a room.  They're far more discerning than that.  The hike in room temp blanked the image which also isn't correct.  The walls would likely not be exactly at ambient.  And a person's body varies in temp so widely from head to foot that it would easily show up even if ambient was close to body temp.

The love story/seduction didn't quite work.  Early in the movie they gave Russo some odd mannerisms, like noisily drinking a soft drink, that didn't go anywhere.   Possibly that one was pure product placement.  There were a couple of other heavy-handed product placements.  Anyway, the mannerisms hinted at a bit of flighty behavior.  Maybe they were trying to show impulsivness?  Her character did so many flip-flops that it was hard to tell which way she was leaning at any given time.

Faye Dunaway played Crown's shrink.  That was supposed to give us a third person perspective on some of his motivation, but it also didn't quite work.  I guess it was a little too blunt exposition.

And that was a problem with all of the main characters.  A little too much explaining.  Leary has a couple of scenes where he does that.  I suppose that's because they indulged the cinematographer a little too much.  They spent quite a lot of time on the sailboat, glider, Jamacia and sex scenes.  They were pretty, but they didn't advance the story nor the characterizations very much.

Much of the cinematography was very good, though.  My mom and I commented on it to each other a couple of times during the movie.  One was a long shot of NYC over the water that actually used the haze to its advantage.  The colors and the motion of the water really worked well together.  I don't think that would have worked as a still, though.  The camera work in the final diversion in the museum was clever and fun.

High Points:
Cinematography
Rene Russo, nude even
Clever diversions in the museum
Low Points:
Characters were at best 2 1/2 dimensional
Too much exposition on character motives
A few of the "dating" scenes dragged on too long

On my brother's Total Movie Value Scale, Rental.  Another safe Hollyweird fluff script.  I keep hearing the original was better.

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Last modified: June 14, 2004
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