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The Italian Job (2003) This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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The Italian Job is perfectly cliched. First the heroes commit the perfect heist of thirty something million dollars in twenty-four carrot Spanish gold, then one of their own betrays them, and then the heroes try to recommit the perfect heist of thirty something million dollars in twenty four carrot Spanish Gold; this time from the traitor. Of course, the heroes don't care about the thirty something million dollars in twenty-four carrot Spanish gold. No, the motive of course is revenge, much more noble. The movie plays out like a mission impossible episode and a James Bond car chase scene.

The Italian job poses a problem because every character is a thief. How does a director distinguish the good guys from the bad guys when everyone leaches off society? In movie making, playing shirts and skins will not solve the issue of ambiguous teams. So the movie opts for the next easiest identifier after pennies. Classic good and evil clichés.

Let's look at Team Good. The expert thief regrets that he didn't spend more time with his daughter. Everyone can relate to remorse, and I at least won’t judge a common mistake. The male lead obviously sees this expert thief as a father figure. Since the audience knows he's sincere, they agree with the revenge. One of the other teammates started as an innocent twelve year old pyromaniac with an afro, and goes by the name “Left Ear”. I laugh with the audience, and concede that he must be harmless. The female lead, like all good female leads, boasts a voluptuous body, consistently flaunts tight or revealing clothing, drives fast cars, and begrudgingly admits she needs a man to help here through her emotional struggles. Enough said.

Let's look at Team Bad Guy. He commits two cold blooded murders. Done, we hate him, and to put the cherry on top he's rich. Everybody hates a rich killer.

The movie makers filmed every heist (the movie treats us to three of them) like a colleague of Home Depot commercials. Each character is assigned a certain job in the robbery. One paints over a thousand year old mural as if showing off BEHR's new primer and paint in one. Another demonstrates the usefulness of a laser measuring tape as he installs explosives. Yet another boasts the torque of Rigid's new wireless drill as she breaks into a safe. The audience muses over how the henchmen plan to use home improvement to steal thirty something million dollars in twenty-four carrot Spanish Gold. Since the camera switches rapidly from henchmen to henchmen, the audience is fooled into believing everything is happening quickly. Even the music taunts the audience by building up to a climax and then dissipating into nerve racking staccato. Then the tension explodes into a high speed speed chase.

The tone of the film suffers from mild schizophrenia. The creativity compares to a kids meal toy. The movie feels like a quilt of cliches. Theft and revenge are rewarded and condoned. Boats fly through the canals of Venice. Motorcycles chase custom cars through Los Angeles. The guy gets the girl in the end. As I've said before, perfectly cliched.




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