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Thief

Thief

Thief

1981 / 122min / 35mm

DIRECTOR: MICHAEL MANN

CAST: JAMES CAAN, TUESDAY WELD, WILLIE NELSON

It sounds simple: Safe cracker James Caan wants to settle down with Tuesday Weld, but he needs one last big score first. But Mann’s theatrical feature debut revolutionized the American action movie, fusing a detail-oriented documentary impulse, evident in its how-to heist scenes and casting of real-life cops and cons (Dennis Farina and John Santucci, respectively), with a lavish pop style, expressed by Tangerine Dream’s massive, immersive score and Mann’s turning the real city of Chicago into a mythic version of itself. Disarmingly tender in its famed coffee shop monologue, scorched-earth savage when it turns to vengeance; a dab-handed genre piece that packs the heft of true tragedy. “The optics and the score (Tangerine Dream!) in Thief (and Caan’s island-like performance) transform this crime film into something wholly other, almost science fiction!”—Josh and Bennie Safdie