A languorous single take opens the film, sweeping across verdant Mississippi countryside being traversed by a railcar carrying a chain gang and armed guards, before spying a couple of other prisoners rowing their way across a pond, chatting about things inconsequential. A third accomplice shows up with a car and some civilian clothes. The car breaks down, they take off on foot. Eventually the trio -- a couple of hard cases, T-Dub (Bert Remsen) and Chickamaw (John Schuck), and one fresh-faced young Ozark farmboy, Bowie (Keith Carradine) previously serving life for a murder committed at 16 -- wind up at a relative's place, where they hide out and plan their first robbery. Because the three, who continually refer to themselves as "thieves," never seem to consider even for a moment to do anything but just keeping on robbing and running. And so they do.
Continue reading: Thieves Like Us Review
Hoffman is unforgettable, as is Bancroft (supposedly old enough to be Hoffman's mother but actually only 6 years his senior in real life). Of course, Buck Henry and Calder Willingham's adaptation of Charles Webb's novel is what makes this picture so perfectly solid ("Mrs. Robinson... you're trying to seduce me. Aren't you?"), and who can forget the masterful direction of Mike Nichols, here in his prime, setting up that immortal shot of Hoffman as seen beneath the bent knee of Bancroft? And Simon & Garfunkel's soundtrack is also perfectly apt, unforgettable to this day.
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