The Thomas Crown Affair (1999)

The Thomas Crown AffairStarring Pierce Brosnan, Rene Russo, Denis Leary, Ben Gazzara, Frankie Faison, and Faye Dunaway
Written by Leslie Dixon & Kurt Wimmer based on the story by Alan Trustman.
Directed by John McTiernan.

Grade: C+

Review by Carlo Cavagna.

You may have already seen The Thomas Crown Affair earlier this summer, when it was called Entrapment, but there are reasons to see it again in its current iteration. Exactly two of them, in fact. First, it is a summer movie for grown-ups, an adult oasis amidst the teen films currently contaminating your local monsterplex. (This is not to say that all those teen movies are bad, but do we need quite so many of them?) Second, it's got Rene Russo.

Not only is Russo one of the few actors in the film capable of manifesting more than one emotion, but at her ripe old age (for Hollywood), Russo plays the sultry seductress. Do you realize how remarkable it is for a forty-five year old woman to be cast as a romantic lead in anything other than a drama? It's OK for the male lead to be in his forties or fifties, or even sixties, but not the female. All too often, we are asked to believe that some twenty-something is a brilliant doctor, or a leading scientist, or a top-notch insurance investigator. Instead, Rene Russo (as Catherine Danning) is of an age consistent with her character's profession--like Catherine Zeta-Jones in Entrapment, she's an insurance investigator. Not only that, she wears knee-high leather boots. She parades around topless. She's not some middle-aged wallflower just waiting for Pierce Brosnan (as the title character) to carry her away.Russo and Brosnan get to know each other

Speaking of Pierce Brosnan, who exactly decided that he is an actor? He's not much more than a pretty face. He fills James Bond's shoes capably enough, but he's lost when a little dramatic edge is required. There's no oomph there. In contrast, Denis Leary (as detective McCann) brings more of an edge--as he always does.

Other than Russo, The Thomas Crown Affair doesn't have a whole lot to offer. I never saw the 1968 original (with Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway, who has a small part in the remake as Crown's therapist--as if a guy like Crown would have a therapist), but I can imagine that this type of caper movie played better back then. There's not a whole lot of capering in this caper in any event. Heists at the beginning and end bracket a long period of investigation and romance, none of which really catches fire. On the whole, a pleasant but forgettable movie.

Review © August 1999 by AboutFilm.Com and the author.
Images © 1999 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.

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