I love heist movies. Seeing people trying to steal something infinitely valuable allows viewers to indulge in fantasies of doing something they know better than to do: break the law. The real-time feel of the caper taking place keeps us on the edge of our seats as the possibility of anything going wrong gets greater and greater (unless things are wrong before the movie starts).
Films like "Reservoir Dogs," "Sneakers," "The Usual Suspects," and "Fast Five" are some of the best known heist movies you can seek out. However, there are others which are just as good but haven't gotten the attention they deserve.
This Roger Donaldson ("No Way Out") movie is Jason Statham's best one to date. It's based on the true story of the 1971 Baker Street Robbery, a caper which ends up going wrong in all the right ways. Surprisingly, the actual heist takes up little screen time, as the story becomes more involved in the ulterior motives of certain robbers which make everyone realize what this robbery was really about. This is one of the best heist movies of the past decade.
Roger Avary wrote and directed this 1994 movie, which stars Eric Stoltz as Zed, a professional safe-cracker who travels to Paris to help his friend Eric (the sensational Jean-Hugues Anglade) rob a bank on Bastille Day. The movie makes excellent use of its low budget; we feel as trapped as those in the bank. The gorgeous Julie Delpy also stars as Zoe, who serves as the light at the end of this horribly botched robbery. The action is propelled by a fantastic electronic film score by Tomandandy.
If you're looking for a good Nicolas Cage movie, then check out this one directed by Ridley Scott. Cage stars as Roy Walker, who, along with his partner Frank Mercer (Sam Rockwell), works as a con artist in Los Angeles operating a fake lottery and bilking unsuspecting couples out of their money. During their law breaking schemes, Walker ends up meeting his 14-year old daughter Angela (Alison Lohman is fantastic), who ends up joining him and Mercer in their illegal activities. "Matchstick Men" has a great, biting sense of humor and pulls you in on a deep emotional level, which makes it all the more satisfying.
This 1990 movie combined comedy and violence in a way audiences were not prepared for at the time ("Reservoir Dogs" broke through that mold), but it plays much better today. Alec Baldwin plays Frederick Frenger, a seriously violent sociopath who steals from people who steal from people. But unlike Robin Hood, he doesn't give the money back to the poor. Baldwin gets great support from Fred Ward as Sgt. Hoke Moseley, the cop who gets his badge and teeth stolen by Frenger, and Jennifer Jason Leigh as the innocent prostitute Susie Waggoner.
Bill Murray co-directed (with Howard Franklin) and stars in this movie as Grimm, a man so burned out from living in New York that he decides to leave the country -- but only after robbing a bank. The robbery he plans with his girlfriend Phyllis (Geena Davis) and the dim-witted Loomis (Randy Quaid) is actually quite ingenious, and it makes you want to see these three get away with their crime. Murray gives one of his most underrated performances here, and Quaid almost steals the show with his hilarious overreactions.
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