Stolen

"Grim"

Stolen Review


Looks can be awfully deceiving. Harold J. Smith's face has a rubbery, off-putting look from a long-running case of skin cancer. This noted, Smith never seems the least bit self-conscious about his looks and it hasn't hindered his progress in becoming one of the more prolific art theft detectives in the world.

Rebecca Dreyfus' documentary on the infamous 1990 heist of 13 irreplaceable artworks has a story to tell. Amongst the 13 artworks is Vermeer's "The Concert," a priceless piece of art from a seminal artist who died young and only painted a little over 30 pieces. The heist, which took place at Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner museum, is one of the few art robberies in U.S. history where none of the pieces have been recovered. With vigor, Dreyfus and her guileful gumshoe give it another crack.

As they trot from New York to Boston to London, it starts to become clear that there is plenty of fascination here, but not much else. It's a hoot to watch Smith go head to head with a master criminal and to see him chum it up with a Scotland Yard agent and an ex-fence for stolen artwork, but these moments are bogged down by heady doses of overdone academia.

When talking about the history of the acquisition of the paintings and Isabella Stewart Gardner's life while trying to start her museum, Dreyfus often withdraws into letters between Gardner (voiced by Blythe Danner) and her art advisor, Bernard Berenson (voiced by Campbell Scott) about several acquisitions. To be blunt, these digressions would be at home at a narcolepsy convention. For what reason we are actually learning about Gardner when we are given so little about Smith and the actual heist, one may never know.

Things get good when Smith gets a lead to a man who might know where the pieces are. Politics become more important than recovering the art when the suspect asks for immunity for any crimes that might stem from the knowledge he can give. Then, when Smith goes to London to investigate a lead, the possibility of reputed gangster Whitey Bulger being involved gives a level of intrigue to the film that has been muddled in monotonous, if not arguably integral interviews with art historians about the history of Vermeer and "The Concert." Dreyfus, however, quickly strays away from Bulger and the Irish underground and goes into the history of the museum itself, which would be great in correlation with how the place was robbed and the architectural flaws, but that connection is never explored with much interest.

What will keep you watching is Smith and his conversations with gangsters and law officials, which adds up to half of a really good heist film. Smith passed away while they were putting the film together, and it succeeds at preserving his charming personality and his love for the hunt. It's just too bad that the love of the hunt is never given over to the audience with equal ardor.



Stolen

Facts and Figures

Run time: 96 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 6th September 2012

Box Office USA: $0.3M

Budget: $35M

Distributed by: Millennium Entertainment

Production compaines: Millenium Films, Nu Image Films, Saturn Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 16%
Fresh: 3 Rotten: 16

IMDB: 5.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Rebecca Dreyfus

Producer: Susannah Ludwig

Starring: as Will Montgomery, as Riley Simms, as Cab Driver, as Alison, as Tim Harlend, as Fletcher, Michelle Torres as Tourist, Tanc Sade as Pete, Marcus Lyle Brown as Matthews, as Hoyt, Bernadette Ralphs as Kiosk Girl, Emily West as Frightened Girl in Car, Tom Waite as FBI Agent (uncredited)

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Trumbo Movie Review

Trumbo Movie Review

An entertaining film about sobering true events, this is the story of notorious screenwriter Dalton...

Goosebumps Movie Review

Goosebumps Movie Review

Mixing the action, comedy and horror from novelist R.L. Stein's books into a family-friendly package,...

Dad's Army Movie Review

Dad's Army Movie Review

The beloved 1970s British sit-com gets the big screen treatment, although there's been very little...

Spotlight Movie Review

Spotlight Movie Review

This film demonstrates that you don't need guns to make an exciting thriller. Based on...

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

Not the subtlest director working in Hollywood, Michael Bay brings his surging machismo to this...

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

There's nothing clever about this deliberately rude and vulgar comedy, but certain audiences will find...

The Big Short Movie Review

The Big Short Movie Review

Smart and snappy, this comedy is one of the scariest films of the year, using...

Advertisement
The 5th Wave Movie Review

The 5th Wave Movie Review

Also based on the first in a trilogy of post-apocalyptic teen novels, this thriller feels...

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart reteam for a sequel no one really asked for, following...

Room Movie Review

Room Movie Review

One of the most extraordinary films of the year, this drama cleverly weaves in events...

Creed Movie Review

Creed Movie Review

While this film is basically Rocky VII, it's also much more than that, and perhaps...

A Perfect Day Movie Review

A Perfect Day Movie Review

An irreverent comedy in the style of the original M.A.S.H., this wartime romp takes an...

Partisan Movie Review

Partisan Movie Review

With his feature debut, young Australian filmmaker Ariel Kleiman tells a creepy story about a...

The Revenant Movie Review

The Revenant Movie Review

A wrenching saga of survival and revenge, Alejandro G. Inarritu's new epic is just as...

The Hateful Eight Movie Review

The Hateful Eight Movie Review

Quentin Tarantino is a filmmaker who simply can't be ignored, especially when he lobs a...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.