Heist (2001)

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Released 4-Sep-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Caper Main Menu Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer-Egypt
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 104:21
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By David Mamet
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Gene Hackman
Danny DeVito
Delroy Lindo
Sam Rockwell
Rebecca Pidgeon
Ricky Jay
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $39.95 Music Theodore Shapiro


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     Renowned playwright, screenwriter and director David Mamet (Glengarry Glen Ross, Ronin, State And Main) attracted a fine cast including Gene Hackman, Delroy Lindo and Danny DeVito for his latest film, Heist. The film originally premiered in Canada at the Toronto Film Festival on September 10th 2001, while the US release was at the Boston Film Festival on September 13th 2001. If the significance of these dates doesn’t ring a bell, people weren’t exactly in the mood for going to the cinema, especially to see a crime film. This unfortunate timing hindered the film’s popularity, resulting in an ordinary show at the box-office, which is too bad as the film deserved a little more in my opinion.

    Unimaginatively titled, the film is about veteran thief Joe Moore (Hackman), who is ready to retire. When he’s not stealing gold or jewellery for Bergman (DeVito), he’s making boats. He plans to sail off into the sunset after his final job on one of them. Reluctant to pay up, Bergman forces Moore and his men - Bobby Blane (Lindo) and Don ‘Pinky’ Pincus (Ricky Jay) - to attempt to pull off one more heist. To make sure the job gets done properly, Bergman sends his arrogant nephew Jimmy Silk along for the ride. Moore and his men are the ultimate professionals in their game, and they don’t like working with people they know nothing about. Their reaction to this is where the film takes off, twisting and turning all over the place, resulting in a fairly solid film.

    I originally saw Heist at the cinemas early on this year, and found it to be a decent film. The acting was top notch, especially from Hackman, Lindo, DeVito and Jay. Gene Hackman is a favourite of mine, and never puts in an ordinary performance. The film was very well written, especially when it comes to the cool dialogue. Mamet sure knows how to write dialogue, and here he gives everyone his or her fair share of great lines. The film’s many twists and turns seemed a bit much upon first viewing, but were more enjoyable on this, my second viewing.

    Overall, I found Heist to be a solid – if unspectacular – film. Ahead of most other films punched out these days, it was great to see the teaming up of Mamet with his cast. A film that I will certainly revisit, Heist comes recommended from this reviewer.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer is quite good, just not perfect.

    The film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The main area the transfer lets itself down slightly in is the sharpness. Not as crystal clear as a film of Heist's age should be, it lacks the detail of some other contemporary films. This is certainly not a big issue as it never detracts from the film’s experience, but it is still worth mentioning. Shadow detail seemed fairly solid, but again lacked a bit in comparison to other transfers of similar vintage.

    Colours seemed solid enough, never bleeding or distracting, but seemed muted slightly, which could be put down to the director’s preference – not this transfer. Flesh tones were spot-on, looking natural in a way that NTSC cannot do (go PAL!).

    There were no MPEG artefacts visible throughout most of the film, nor were there any film or video artefacts

    This is a single sided single layered disc, and therefore there is no layer change.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio transfer is adequate, but somewhat lacking because of limited surround channel usage.

    The only audio track provided is English Dolby Digital 5.1.

    Dialogue was always clear and intelligible, never experiencing problems with distortion or dropouts. Audio sync was perfect throughout the film’s entire running time.

    The film was scored by Theodore Shapiro. This was a score that I instantly recognised upon my second viewing of this film. It is fairly basic, but very catchy, and it suits the film perfectly. The music was presented quite well on this DVD, but the lack of surround support let it down a bit.

    As I have mentioned, the surround speakers were barely awake throughout the entire film, and let the overall presentation down. With a contemporary film of this kind, you would expect Heist to feature a decent surround soundtrack. There were only a couple of occasions when the surrounds were required, but not enough for my liking.

    Fortunately, the soundtrack features a bit of bass, giving the subwoofer a little more action than the surrounds, but again it's not on par with today’s standards. There were certainly opportunities for greater bass, but as with the lack of surrounds, it comes down to the film’s original soundtrack.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Main Menu Audio

    Music from the film playing over a static shot of the film's three main stars.

Dolby Digital Trailer - Egypt

Theatrical Trailer (2:18)

    The film's full theatrical trailer, presented in a 16x9 enhanced aspect ratio of 1.85:1, with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. If you ask me, the film's trailer should be compulsory on every DVD, and not considered an extra feature.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Region 1 version includes the film's theatrical trailer, but adds cast filmographies.

    It is not worth importing the Region 1 version of this DVD just for filmographies, so stick with the local version in this case.

Summary

     Heist is a pretty solid film, written and directed very well by David Mamet, and acted very well by the main cast. I always enjoy a good heist film, and this is no exception.

    The video transfer is quite good, but not on the same level as other recent films.

    The audio transfer was a let-down, if only in regards to surrounds and subwoofer action. Quality in the fronts was fine, but not enough for a film in it's genre.

    The theatrical trailer is not enough on its own, and the film certainly deserves more in the way of extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Pockett (If you're really bored, you can read my bio...)
Tuesday, July 30, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-525, using Component output
DisplayTeac 82cm 16x9. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony STR DE-545
Speakers5 Sony speakers; Sherwood 12" 100w Powered Subwoofer

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