Thieves is a noir-esque crime thriller, which follows professional heist artist, bank robber, and general lonely soul Johnny Clay, as he embarks on a dangerous mission that, in typical gangster style, he hopes will be the golden ticket out of this line of work.
Thieves plays out as a homage to gangster movies and, as such, features a somewhat complex yet still generic twist of characters and stories. People double-cross other people, characters are screwed over, and to go into too much detail would be to spoil the film and it’s specific character interactions. Johnny Clay is probably the most interesting character, fortunately, and his reasoning for leaving the life of crime behind is at least motivated and justified pretty well during the course of the story. However, this isn’t to say that everything throughout Thieves plot, personally, gripped my attention.
The plot, though twisty, is somewhat safe and predictable for the genre it exists in, and the character types are exactly who you’d expect to see. Nevertheless, this isn’t massively too much of a problem, as the film’s lack of full engagement in the story is balanced by its visual style; the entire film plays out in gorgeous black and white, and jack-of-all-trades (and master of a few) director/writer/cinematographer Bryan C. Winn maximises the monochromatic style to portray a noir-ish crime tale, and in doing so, captures some wonderful images (the film’s closing shot with a plane, without spoiling the film, is particularly nice).
A special mention deserves to be given to the James Bond-like end credits sequence, the images of which really reminded me of so many iconic Bond openings. The film’s cinematic visuals are aided magnificently by composer Otto Nilsson too, who delivers a cool, synthy score to compliment the black and white visuals with style and class.
All in all, Thieves is fine, and an enjoyable enough watch for the time that it plays out. Whilst nothing that the film does is groundbreaking within its genre, and the acting isn’t always great, the visual style carries the film throughout, and it’s clear the cast and crew have at least enjoyed putting the film together.
Bryan C. Winn delivers more than a few cool set pieces of crime and style throughout, and for that alone, Thieves is certainly worth a watch.