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THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR (1999)

SYNOPSIS:
Thomas Crown (Pierce Brosnan) is a billionaire who has everything - except some fabulous impressionist paintings and a mate. He steals the former and isn't looking for the latter. When a major painting is audaciously stolen, the insurers set investigator/bounty hunter Catherine Banning (Rene Russo) loose - she's as smart as she looks, maybe even more dangerous and just as solo and just as successful as Crown. Detective - as he'll keep reminding us - Michael McCann (Denis Leary) is wary of Catherine, until he recognises that she has more smarts than most of New York put together. She wants to catch Crown, professionally speaking, but somehow, cupid jams the airwaves, with two high-flyers coming face to face (and lips to lips). Still, when it comes to the crunch, nobody, not even the key players, know which way the dial will roll.

"James Bond meets To Catch A Thief meets Entrapment meets Thomas Crown Affair 1968 . . . with an extra dose of love potion 99. Updated, up-endinged (sorry) and designer dressed, The Thomas Crown Affair of 1999 is easily the smoothest romantic caper movie of the year, easy on the brain, easy on the eyes, easy on the solar plexus. The Sting in the tail is the singer, whose laid back (easy?) interpretation of the rightly famous Michel Legrand/ Marilyn & Alan Bergman theme song, Windmills of Your Mind, will have your head bopping and/or toes tapping at the end credits. But well before that, you will have been seduced by the opulence and the action, the suggestion of steamy sex (the big erotic scene revels in entertaining gymnastics) and the close ups of Brosnan and Russo. (Ignore the fake poster, by the way, she really looks great as she is.) It was Brosnan's idea to do the film (remake), and Russo was a terrific choice for Catherine; they have natural screen chemistry. McTiernan's film achieves its purpose very well, aiming at a middle brow audience seeking a good night out. So in that sense, it's a throw-back to the days when some films relied on sexy stars, exotic locations and some unbelievably clever hi-jinx (incredibly thorough planning by the central character with no credible means to fulfil) to be popular. And succeeded. The people called it escapism. But I suspect some women will gnash their teeth at the ending; discuss. It is at once a date movie and a take-anyone movie; you should certainly take your favourite art thief, possibly along with any available insurance assessor. These are people who may need to learn how to get a life! "
Andrew L. Urban

"Thomas Crown Affair is a slick and stylish production; it dazzles with sizzling stars and generally give remakes a good name. Hot on the heels of Entrapment, this charming art thief is another former Bond, who has clearly found his element. Pierce Brosnan slips easily into the role of the man who has everything, with the kind of seductive flair that became a Cary Grant trademark. Brosnan is smooth, suave and debonair - he hums like a well oiled engine. In her best role yet, and totally to her credit, Renee Russo is the perfect temptress – smart, sassy yet convincingly vulnerable. Much of the film's success lies in the push/pull between Brosnan and Russo, whose cat/mouse relationship is a delight to watch. As this photogenic twosome toy with each other enjoying the better things of life – a little Krug, a joy flight, a good red in the idyllic Carribean, the playfulness of burning a Renoir or two – I couldn't help but think that hey, this is tantalizing and civilised interrogation. The chemistry sparkles, the characters engage us. This is a case of where the chase is definitely the name of the game. The story – well, it is the sort of Hollywood tale of untold riches and audacious schemes that provide great escapism on a day you don't really want to be reminded of reality. The clothes are designer, the settings luxurious, the locations gorgeous. And the characters are so darn likeable that you can't help yourself from being enticed. You could probably find a few holes in the script if you try, but why bother? This witty, intelligent and entertaining script sucks you right in. I was swept away by Bill Conti's evocative music– from the multi-note piano pieces reminiscent of the memorable original 1968 Michel Legrand music, to the effective use of that haunting theme and its variations. Casting Faye Dunaway, of course is a welcome piece de resistance. Live dangerously – Thomas Crown intrigues and intoxicates."
Louise Keller

"The term remake should be applied very loosely to this glossy affair which manages to overcome sizeable loopholes in plot and logic to emerge as an entertaining piece of fluff. Norman Jewison's 1968 original was much grittier, with a more psychologically complex Steve McQueen orchestrating a bank holdup by hiring a menacing bunch of armed heavies. Leslie Dixon and Kurt Wimmer's screenplay plays it considerably softer as a much less fearsome gang of Romanians! (who'd never convince anyone they were museum guards) pull of the Monet heist with Crown before being completely discarded although they're the only eye-witnesses. Never mind because Rene Russo, in a glamorous role for a change, is on hand as the insurance investigator who's much smarter than the police and has what it really takes to catch her man. Faye Dunaway, who played the Russo role in 1968, also appears as Crown's psychiatrist in a couple of scenes which don't add much to the plot but still makes a nice gesture. This is old fashioned romantic crime caper in the style of How To Steal A Million (1964) and is effortlessly watchable provided you don't examine it too closely. Brosnan and Russo have the screen chemistry to make it click and director John McTiernan uses his Die Hard skills to good advantage with some excitingly staged robbery sequences inside the gallery. It's smoothly done escapism, nothing more, and a remake worthy of the effort."
Richard Kuipers

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 3
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

See Hal Hayes' interview with
PIERCE BROSNAN

TRAILER

THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR (M)
(US)

CAST: Pierce Brosnan, Rene Russo, Denis Leary, Ben Gazzara, Frankie Faison, Fritz Weaver, Charles Keating, Mark Margolis and Faye Dunaway

DIRECTOR: John McTiernan

PRODUCER: Pierce Brosnan, Beau St Clair

SCRIPT: Leslie Dixon, Kurt Wimmer (story by Alan R. Trustman)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Tom Priestley

EDITOR: John Wright A.C.E.

MUSIC: Bill Conti

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Bruno Rubeo

RUNNING TIME: 110 minutes

(And great title design by yU+co., garson Yu - so don't miss the opening credits)

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: UIP

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 19, 1999

VIDEO RELEASE: February 2, 2000 (rental)
Sell-thru: August 23, 2000

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment







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