There are few movies that make you sit up and watch. Yet there are fewer which have an interesting, brainy plot with a fantastic performance by the leading star cast. Even more there are a handful which makes you want to watch them every time they are screened. ‘The Thomas Crown Affair’ (1999) starring Pierce Brosnan (Tomorrow Never dies, Golden Eye, The Tailor of Panama), Rene Russo (Lethal Weapon 4, Tin Cup), Faye Dunaway, directed by John McTiernan(Last Action Hero, Die Hard 3) fits the above bill like a T.
I became a fan of Brosnan after watching his Bond flick ‘Tomorrow never dies‘. I am a fanatic Bond fan and Brosnan was the first ever Bond I got to see on celluloid. I fell in love with Bond in the way Brosnan potrayed the suave agent.
I chanced upon this movie when it was telecast in Star Movies as a late night treat. Something in the promos caught my fancy and I sat down to watch. I was thrilled after the first ten minutes.
The story revolves around a multi millionaire Thomas Crown who is very clever and possesses all the riches in the world and is a finance geek. If he wants a deal done, he gets it done. He wants to wreck a $100,000,000 boat to enjoy the splash, he gets to do it. He gets bored out with nothing to chase and so for an amusement, steals a Monet from the art gallery. He enlists the help of some foreign crooks who do not know him, leaving them to face the music, getting away with the painting.
Along with the detectives who try to solve the case, an insurance investigator Catherine Banning(Rene Russo) joins up. Within days, she guesses that it is a fiasco and the culprit is Thomas Crown. Not only that, against the wishes of the detectives, she accosts Thomas Crown and boldly declares that she knows that he is the one.
Amused at meeting a mind like his own, Crown entertains her. She is unable to prove anything of his guilt-let alone duplicating his house keys and taking out the painting which turns out to be some thing else.
As the story progresses, Crown and Catherine are drawn to each other’s intellect and soon she is in a dilemma to decide whether she has to go with Crown or the job at hand. Crown comes to her resuce by promising to put the Monet back in the same place from where it was taken and that they can be together. Catherine is incredulous but agrees to the deal, provided Crown pulls it off.
What follows is cunningness at it’s best with Crown outwitting the entire detective force and the gallery people. Not only is the Monet put back in place (the Bowler Hat Man picture at the top is a clue to the last heist. Too much fun to spill it out), but as a ‘compensation’, Crown manages to take away another piece of art from under their very eyes. The way he pulls off the final heist makes you wonder at the direction and the editing.
More than the story(this is a remake of the earlier version of the film by the same name released in 1968 starring Steve McQueen, Faye Dunaway), it is the intellectual game that engages your curiosity. From the way Crown meticulously plans the heist to his involvement with Catherine to ‘returning’ the Monet back, he is fantastic. Brosnan neatly pulls off the role with aplomb.
Rene Russo as the investigator who matches her wits with Crown and later as a woman trying to choose between her love interest and career is wonderful. The way she tackles Crown with a no-nonsense way and when later her theories are proved right, she rocks.
An enjoyable treat to watch and enjoy-both visually and also exercising your ‘grey cells’.
The Final Heist and Sinnerman-