“Dillon and Russell have not been this charming in quite some time and there is just the right amount of Baruchel’s mania and Stamp’s cool to keep the tone balanced.”

Though there is a film that bubbles under there somewhere, The Art of the Steal is really all about letting its actors slide in their most comfortable acting slippers and revel in their own on-screen personas.

Kurt Russell plays former-thief-come-stuntman Crash Calhoun, but let’s face it, he’s playing the same Kurt Russell he’s been since he was escaping New York. Matt Dillon plays slickster Nicky, but he’s the same wild thing he was since the late 90s. Terence Stamp plays reformed con Samuel Winter, but he’s the same suave limey he’s excelled at for decades. And Jay Baruchel is once again literally as an apprentice, but his sorcerer is Calhoun.

The Art of the Steal
Directed by
Jonathan Sobol
Cast
Jay Baruchel, Katheryn Winnick, Kurt Russell
Release Date
2014
Rob’s Grade: B+

There’s not much new Steal adds to the heist flick, but hell if it doesn’t do it with panache and a laundry list of seasoned pros having a grand old time riffing and ribbing one another. The plot involves the standard “getting the gang back together for one last job.” The object of desire? A rare book that is under heavy security.

There are twists, trade-offs, dupes and double-crosses, but none that come as much surprise. The heat comes partly by writer/director Jonathan Sobol, who works better at the latter than the former. He possesses a true knack for the genre, keeping things throttling forward with electric editing, leaving just enough room to capture the bantering and bickering of its crew.
And what a crew it is.

Dillon and Russell have not been this charming in quite some time and there is just the right amount of Baruchel’s mania and Stamp’s cool to keep the tone balanced. A true standout is The Daily Show’s Jason Jones as an Interpol detective begrudgingly paired with Stamp’s Winter, and despises the every second he must spend with the former thief.


Each actor sparks what could be throwaway scenes with petty bickering that feels as though they’ve been together for years.

Running a crisp 90 minutes, there’s little fat to be found. It’s a crime that the The Art of the Steal will not receive more than a video-on-demand dump within the States, but for those seeking a light, jazzy ride that plays like a bouncy B-side to Oceans 11.

Review by Rob Rector, Film Critic