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Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Night in with Netflix: “The Art of the Steal”

Rating: 6.5/10

“The Art of The Steal,” an independent action-adventure movie on Netflix, follows the story of a con artist and daredevil motorcyclist named Crunch Calhoun (Kurt Russell). He and a team of fellow conmen agree to do one last job: steal the historic Gospel According to James.

The plot of the movie begins as any other con artist movie like “Ocean’s 11” or “The Italian Job.” Calhoun has some troubled history and falls apart. He becomes a daredevil motorcyclist, similar to Evel Knievel. He even purposefully falls on a landing during a show for $800. That is, until the call comes for the ultimate last job.

As Russell is the lead actor of the film, the movie has a quirky and comedic feel to it. At one part in the film, Francie (Jay Baruchel) is dragged into smuggling Crunch (Kurt Russell) and Nicky (Matt Dillon) Calhoun into the United States while wearing an amish costume. He glues a long beard on his face while acting very suspicious toward the boarder patrol agent and says, “I’m in a play. ‘Witness,’ the musical. With an exclamation mark.”

Early on, the film seems to jump around in fast cuts, which speed up the pace and also cause it to feel sporadic and hard to follow. As the film progresses, the plot actually becomes more complicated than I might have thought. Without giving any spoilers, there are a variety of unexpected twists involved that help his movie take its own shape.

Unfortunately, the character development wasn’t as good as I’d hoped. The story didn’t delve into the characters’ thoughts and emotions. The film would introduce characters with a quick snapshot without really saying how they were connected with the main character.

However, the film finds strength in its cast. With Kurt Russell at the lead, and Kenneth Welsh, Matt Dillon, Jay Baruchel, and Chris Diamantopoulos on his side, they create a fun and chaotic environment as the team runs around frantically while Interpol agent Jason Jones and art-thief-turned-informant Terence Stamp follow their every move. Overall, the film was witty and exciting with a strong focus on character interaction rather than plot.

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