Entrapment

Posted on December 13, 2002 at 5:16 am

A heist film is one of Hollywood’s most reliable plots. “Entrapment” has caught the look and feel but not the heart of classics like “Topkapi” and “To Catch a Thief.” Sean Connery plays “Mac” MacDougal, a dashing (if somewhat creaky) thief who cannot help responding to a challenge. Catherine Zeta Jones plays insurance investigator Virginia “Gin” Baker, who is out to trap him – or is she? Connery, who also co-produced, delivers the goods in true movie star fashion, making wooden dialogue seem deliciously roguish, and Zeta Jones has appealing grace and spirit as well as breathtaking beauty. Three separate heist scenes are fresh and stylish. There are some cool gadgets. But the plot has holes that leave you walking out of the theater saying, “Hey, wait a minute.” The characters never create any real chemistry with each other, in part because he is decades older than she is. Worse, they never create any chemistry with us. There is something a little chilling about characters who steal without any consideration whatsoever for the impact on others. In some heist films, the characters gain our sympathy by stealing from someone who stole the money in the first place (“The Sting,” “$,”) or in order to protect someone (“How to Steal a Million”). But in “Entrapment,” they seem to be doing it for no particular reason other than a sort of Everest-like “because it’s there.”

Parents should know that there is some relatively discreet nudity, the usual swear words, and brief drug use. Families may enjoy talking about the challenge of making the audience root for a thief. And they may want to watch some of the classics listed above that inspired this one. Heist movies are terrific examples of problem solving, as they lay out exactly what the obstacles are, come up with strategies to address each one, and then, as Mac points out, come up with back-up strategies for the inevitable problems and mistakes.

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