Thief ★★★★½

Set the template for the rest of Michael Mann’s career by balancing abstraction, archetype, and technical realism. The depiction of crime and criminality is at once strikingly deglamorized and extremely stylized; the opening stretch is a triumph of post-noir form, parts of the middle feel like a fairytale, and the climactic vault break-in looks like science fiction, but this is still a film that owes a lot to the preceding decade’s downbeat character studies and macho tragedies. (This is the only Mann where one can detect the influence of Peckinpah.) All movies about debts and codes become existential allegories at a certain point, and here we’ve also got syndicates, lone operators, surfaces, the false promise of middle-class stability. There is probably a lot of Mann in Frank. Who knows how many times I’ve seen this, but it still sucks me in.

I.V. liked this review