Nick Wells (Robert De Niro) is a profession thief who specialises in breaking safes. He lives in Montreal where he runs a legitimate Jazz Club. Two of his golden rules are that he never does any jobs in his home city and he always works alone. When his middleman Max (Marlon Brando) proposes a job that will break both of these rules, Nick is reluctant, but he is tempted by the thought of a 6 million dollar retirement package. The job involves working with Jack (Edward Norton) to steal a gold, diamond-studded, French sceptre that is being stored in the Montreal Customs House…
It is difficult to give a film starring Robert De Niro, Marlon Brando and Edward Norton two stars but unfortunately, in spite of good directing and acting, the film is uninspired and predictable. Perhaps the great cast increased my expectations but I couldn’t help feeling disappointed in the end.
The plot is unoriginal and has an old fashioned feel to it. The film is basically a routine “one-last-heist” caper. Much of the film is spent developing the characters and showing the meticulous preparations that go into planning the theft. The care and time taken to develop the characters pays off as they are all realistic but this means that the pace of the film is slow. The thorough planning of the theft is interesting at first but then becomes a little tiresome after a while. The last 30 minutes, when the robbery is taking place, are exciting enough but it takes a long time to get to this stage and when the credits start rolling at the end I couldn’t help thinking, “is that it!”
The acting is good and the characters are believable. It is great to see two fantastic actors like Marlon Brando and Robert DeNiro working together even if the story was lacking. Edward Norton, like DeNiro and Brando, has a certain presence which makes him stand out. There is also good support from Angela Bassett who plays Nick Wells’ girlfriend.