the problem with con/heist movies

Discussion in 'Movies' started by EricW, Dec 21, 2003.

  1. EricW

    EricW Cinematographer

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    the problem with con/heist movies, i think, is that the movie always tries to make it look like a complication has come up against the protagonist's plan, making it look like it's in jeopardy (red herring?), but we always know, no matter how convincing the movie tries to be, EVERYTHING is going to plan. movies like:
    ocean's eleven, heist, confidence, runaway jury

    i think The Sting
    is what ruined it for me. THAT movie was actually convincing. trick me once, shame on me...
    how about a movie where a sting/con actually doesn't work? is this a pickle?: anybody with suggestions of movies like that would in effect "spoil" the movie...
     
  2. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    Without going into any details to avoid spoiling anything, let me simply suggest you check out:

    Rififi
    Diabolique (1954)
    The Killers (1946)
    The Killing
    The Lavender Hill Mob
    The Ladykillers
    The Italian Job (1968)

    You might be pleasantly surprised.
     
  3. MartinTeller

    MartinTeller Screenwriter

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    That's funny, I was having the exact same thoughts a couple months ago after watching The Sting. I love con movies, but after a while they do all seem kinda the same.

    The problem is that there needs to be some kind of tension, and that's pretty much the only way to do it. It's almost always a situation where it looks like something has gone seriously wrong, but what the audience doesn't know it that it's actually all part of the plan.
     
  4. MartinTeller

    MartinTeller Screenwriter

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    I'll second George's recommendations of The Killing and Diabolique, which take different directions with the formula. I don't care much for The Killers, and haven't seen any of the others.
     
  5. Mark Bendiksen

    Mark Bendiksen Screenwriter

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    I would also recommend checking out Neil Jordan's recent remake of The Good Thief.
     
  6. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    The Usual Suspects?
    Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead?

    Course, sometimes the pleasure goes back to seeing someone pull off the "impossible". It is what the attraction with "Mission: Impossible" (The TV series, not the movies.) for me was.

    Jason
     
  7. Steve_Ch

    Steve_Ch Supporting Actor

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    Topkapi..

    That said, "everything is going to plan" per se does not bother me, as long as the execution is good. There have been some great Law and Order, CSI, X-Files,.. espisodes that I KNOW everything will be resolved in 60 minutes (minus commercial), but I still think they are great, because they are so well executed.
     
  8. EricW

    EricW Cinematographer

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    yes, i forgot about The Killing...
     
  9. Nick C.

    Nick C. Second Unit

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    well, many tend to think of them along the same lines as (most) comedies, you get entertained during the ride, but can be pretty assured of the way the plot will end up. Of course this isn't always the case, and you get great comedies, like Adaptation (in my opinion [​IMG]) that are not only startlingly innovative, maintain strong narratives, but also hilarious at the same time.

    on a side note, another shout-out for Kubrick's The Killing...never ceases to amaze me how the auteur managed to master so many genres!
     
  10. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Cinematographer

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    The Taking of Pelham One Two Three. I never get bored of it. Just be warned that the current DVD release is not in the very best of shape.
     
  11. Clay-F

    Clay-F Stunt Coordinator

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    Gone in 60 Seconds the remake...

    They dont make all the cars for the deal, and the police catch the tankers thanks to our hero.
     
  12. Sean Moon

    Sean Moon Cinematographer

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    Bound, still the best movie by the Wachowski Brothers, is a great con movie. They all have it planned to perfection, but one little thing goes wrong and it snowballs from there and they are flying by the seat of their pants from that moment on, and it adds TONS of tension to it.

    That and a sex scene between Gina Gershon and Jennifer Tilly and you get a great movie!(Yes i am a pig)
     
  13. RodneyT

    RodneyT Stunt Coordinator

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    Consider me a pig as well. I love that film.
     
  14. FeisalK

    FeisalK Screenwriter

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    does The Usual Suspects qualify?
     
  15. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    Then again, there are a number of L&O and CSI episodes where the perp got away with it...
     
  16. MattBu

    MattBu Stunt Coordinator

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    I haven't seen a L&O where Jack McCoy doesn't win in YEARS.

    Mark me down as sick of how every heist goes perfectly. My latest example of this schlock:

    The Italian Job
    (And just a flat out BAD movie which is completely unbelieveable too)
     
  17. chung_sotheby

    chung_sotheby Supporting Actor

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    Bound is a good example of cons and heist gone wrong. Also, I third the amazing lesbo scene.

    As for a good con movie, you might want to check out Neuve Reinas (Nine Queens), a great South American con movie, and To Live and Die in LA, not exactly the classic con movie, but great nonetheless with some con elements. Also, Spanish Prisoner and House of Games are two nice Mamet con movies.
     
  18. Brook K

    Brook K Lead Actor

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    I liked The Good Thief, but you really should skip it until you've seen the original, Jean Pierre Melville's Bob Le Flambeur, my favorite heist movie.

    I also agree on the top 4 on George's list (haven't seen the bottom 3)

    Another I would add if you're looking for things to go wrong:
    Big Deal On Madonna Street
     
  19. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

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    I love Bound and it has nothing to do with the sex scenes(which arent very graphic IMHO). A great underrated movie.

    Also check out Dead Presidents for heist that goes wrong.
     
  20. ToddP

    ToddP Stunt Coordinator

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    How about Matchstick Men earlier this year? I thought Nick Cage did a great job in this role.

    And the protagonist gets outconned without turning the situation back around in his favor. I actually thought the movie was kind of sad, but very well done.
     

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