RogerBW's Blog

Entrapment 13 January 2019

1999 caper film, dir. Jon Amiel, Sean Connery, Catherine Zeta-Jones; IMDb / allmovie. Gin the insurance investigator tracks down Mac the art thief, but are either of them really what they seem? Of course not.

The elephant in the room is the 69-year-old Connery being paired with the 30-year-old Zeta-Jones; it works only because the romantic aspect is played down. Sure, Mac clearly thinks Gin looks good twisting between the laser beams in a leotard, and there's a little kissing; but these characters both have their own lives, and any relationship between them has to be a meeting of minds first. It's still uncomfortable, but it just about works, because the power dynamic isn't as uneven as the ages are. Sure, with a younger actor (or an older leading woman – Adrienne Corri? Mara Corday? Lois Smith? Joanne Woodward?) there could have been sparks flying and lively repartee as well as what we get here, but not every film can be as good as The Thin Man, and in any case Connery was co-producing.

Apart from that oddity, there's plenty of good stuff to be found. There's an effective but largely non-sexual tension between the leads. The action is mostly thieving action rather than desperate acrobatics (though there is one sequence of the latter, which to my mind fell a little flat) or gun battles, again in tune with the mood of the film. There's plenty of the cinematically clichéd vocabulary of Crime World, but I can't help suspecting that some of it actually started here. And there's an effective use of the Millennium, which not many films managed (the only other one that comes to mind is Strange Days).

It's unfortunate that the climactic theft is merely one of money, rather than of art like the others shown in the film. Sure, it means retirement-level wealth, but somehow it brings the tone of the film down to something more tawdry, and the whole thing starts to feel grubby rather than slick and glamorous like the first half.

It's not The Thomas Crown Affair, or even the remake, but it works surprisingly well given some of the odd decisions in story and casting. Trailer here.

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