The Thomas Crown Affair '99 MAG

By Unknown, Uknown, Uknown

   "The Thomas Crown Affair"sprints out of the blocks, but stumbles occasionally for comic timing andsuspense. The remake's dialogue is dreadful, but the cast's winning performanceskeep the film afloat.

The opening scene, in which wealthy New Yorkexecutive Thomas Crown (Pierce Bros-nan) craftily snatches a Monet from theMet-ropolitan Museum of Art, opens the movie at Mach 3. The next 30 minutes,however, run like an episode of "NYPD Blue." We are dragged to a policestation where the cop in charge (Denis Leary) is distracted from hisinvestigation by the knee of Catherine Banning (Rene Russo), which she hasstrategically poked through the full-length slit in her skirt. She arches hereyebrows at him and whips a couple of cheesy one-liners over dark sunglasses,forcing the audience to remember it's watching a group of respectable actors inan expensive Hollywood production.

Russo's character swiftly concludesthat Crown is the thief, and spends the rest of the movie looking for evidence.This, of course, entails breaking into his house, dining and dancing with him, aswell as accompanying him to his remote island resort. The two "fall inlove," so to speak, except for the fact that even by the end of the film neitherthe womanizer nor the man-eater trusts the other. Crown's psychologist (a sharpFaye Dunaway, who played Russo's role in the 1968 original) reminds him of thisevery time he hints he could be falling for Banning.

Although Brosnandoesn't venture far from his usual suave,British-rich-guy-with-a-bunch-of-fun-toys role, Thomas Crown is a slightly fullercharacter than James Bond. Crown's dark side provides Brosnan with theopportunity to prove he has some talent (something Bond never did), and hesucceeds, especially in the "Do you trust me?" dialogues withBanning.

Although an alternative ending would have been much moresatisfying, the audience still hasn't caught its breath from the final scenes,and doesn't seem to care.

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