Film & TV

Film Review: The Honest Thief

Liam Neeson and Kate Walsh star in this heist movie with a difference

How far from your moral centre would you drift when it comes to $9million?

Liam Neeson is Tom, a burglar, one of the best around, who over the years has amassed millions of dollars from bank robberies.  He meets Annie (Kate Walsh), and they click immediately.  Tom is hopelessly, besottedly in love and tells her, in the most beautiful words and wants to live happily ever after.  Problem is, he is a wanted felon with $9million.

Tom makes a plan to come clean, to be free of the past and redeem himself by confessing to the FBI and making a deal to hand back the money in return for a lighter sentence.  Agent Baker, when he hears this phone call, rolls his eyes, sure it is a prank, and sends out a couple of junior agents, Nivens and Hall, to check it out, not expecting much.  Things go pear-shaped when these agents realise that Tom is the real deal, there really is $9million and hey, who would know if they just took it, given no one believes Tom anyway…. 

There are shades of “Harry Brown” as Neeson is revealed not just to be some old guy but an ex-veteran who specialised in explosives.  He uses these skills to fight back – though it’s not exactly fighting back, it’s trying to put everything right so he can be the man he wants to be now.

There is a moment where the movie could go either way, it could teeter on the edge of the farce of the felon not being believed when all he wants to do is give back the money but the writer and director Mark Williams steers away from there and steers it somewhere darker.  It is not your typical action film as there isn’t a crash and gunshot per minute, it is slower but this adds to the story and suspense.   

Note too, that it is not just figuratively dark, but literally dark.  Scenes with Tom are dark, there is fog and whenever things are dark, there is the colour blue.  Primary colours abound to show us the moods and the only bright colours are when Annie is around.

Kate Walsh excels as Annie, making her more than the token female that turns Tom’s life around.  She is strong, funny and has her own issues and story.  Liam Neeson is the perfect star for this role as while we see him as having “a particular set of skills”, he also shows vulnerability and more than the one-dimensional action role.

AN HONEST GOOD ACTION FILM 4 stars

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