Chameleon-like thieves, led by aging Joe Moore (Gene Hackman), orchestrate elaborate scenarios to perform daring gold robberies in this intense action film. The team includes Joe’s young beautiful wife, Fran (Rebecca Pidgeon), his partner Bobby (Delroy Lindo) and Pinky (Ricky Jay). Danny DeVito plays Bergman, their ruthless fence. Joe and Fran plan to retire until Bergman forces them to perform one more job, accompanied by his nephew Jimmy (Sam Rockwell). Jimmy’s obvious attraction to Fran creates even more tension. Writer/director David Mamet’s sharp, witty dialogue, intricate plot details and puzzling conflicts require rapt audience attention, but HEIST will disturb those tired of glamorized lawlessness.
Viewers are expected to sympathize with Joe and his loyal team who are very willing to maim and kill. While most killings occur off-camera, vicious beatings, intense gun battles, kicks to groin, stomach and back are difficult to watch. A prolonged, gory closeup of one gunshot victim’s bloody head is particularly graphic. Massive property destruction with explosives and crowbars while breaking into safes, buildings and airplanes occur frequently. Filthy dialogue includes 62 f-words. Fran’s betrayal of her husband may save his life. Maybe her motive is more lust and greed, but either way, adultery and criminal behavior are glorified. Sex is implied once when Jimmy rips Fran’s dress off, but only her bare back is shown. HEIST’s use of violence to entertain, filthy language, and glamorization of crime earn a failing grade.