The Italian Job (7)

 Copyright © 2003 by Tony Medley


Caper films got a poke in the eye with the deplorable Confidence and The Good Thief earlier this year.  The Italian Job brings the genre back into respectability.  Unfortunately, this is another film thatís shot in the foot by the people who created the trailer for it, which shows the audience the most shocking moment of the film.  Why canít those promoting films have more confidence in the film theyíre promoting and more respect for their audience and refrain from showing the biggest moments in a trailer?  Iím not going to reveal this moment to protect those who want to see it without having seen the trailer.

 Charlie Croker (Mark Wahlberg) is after Steve (Edward Norton) because Steve double-crossed Charlie and his gang.  The way Charlie devises to get Steve is sheer fantasy that could only happen in the movies.  But, hey, this IS a movie!  So itís OK.  The fun is in watching Charlie reassemble his gang and get Stella Bridger (Charlize Theron), the daughter of Charlieís mentor, John Bridger (Donald Sutherland), to join them, find Steve, and bring him to his just reward. Wahlberg is as understated as Norton is hateful.  I liked both performances.

Coming in at a workable 100 minutes, this is a film with no gratuitous violence, no profanity and no sex, unless youíre like me for whom just looking at Charlize Theron constitutes a sexual experience, and you get a lot of time to look at her.

 The cinematography of Venice, Italy, and Los Angeles is beautiful.  The car chase scenes, though exciting, are preposterous, as is the ingenious plan finally devised by Charlie.  But this is escapist fare that doesnít pretend to be Shakespeare.  For what it purports to be, I found it entertaining.  It passed the watch test with flying colors, because I didn't look once.

 June 1, 2003

 The End