[box cover]

Art Heist

Whatever else one might have to say about 2004's straight-to-video thriller Art Heist, the filmmakers seem have gotten the title of the film exactly correct. There is, indeed, an art heist at the beginning of the movie, after which victimized collector Victor Boyd (Ed Lauter) beckons his buying agent Sandra Walker (Ellen Pompeo) to Barcelona and charges her with recovering his treasured Goya. While Sandra is an art expert, and not a detective, she is followed to Spain by her estranged policeman husband (William Baldwin), who discovers that Sandra is tracking the stolen art with the help of her art school-era lover (Abel Folk). But the title of this movie may have been meant as a double entendre — whatever artistry director Bryan Goeres may have meant to apply to this tepid potboiler appears to have been nicked without a trace. While most caper movies delight in the gadgetry and cunning of hi-tech thievery, the generic Art Heist makes no such bother with ingenuity or detail. Nor do screenwriters Diane Fine and Evan Spiliotopoulos make any attempt to breathe any credentials into their cardboard heroes. The unremarkable Pompeo is only convincing as an art expert insofar as, when others refer to her as such, she offers no protest. Baldwin is naturally more convincing as an ego-wounded renegade detective, but his sub-Alec talent and charm does little to galvanize a cookie-cutter narrative wherein the obligatory plot twists are as unsurprising as the red herrings are a faded pink. Art Heist does, however, feature a steady supply of B-movie staples which offer adequate, if not inspiring, stimuli response: heroes barely escaping explosions, villains shooting each other, heroes being framed for crimes they are attempting to solve, a Baldwin, children of heroes being threatened with violence by desperate villains, a little nudity, and heroes who turn out to be villains but then sacrificially redeem themselves when all seems otherwise lost. The Barcelona locations add a touch of style, but not enough to make a difference (this movie's wildly inflated Internet Movie Database rating seems to this writer the result of shameless shillery). Sandra and Bruce's woodenly precocious daughter is played by Madison Goeres, the director's own offspring. Columbia TriStar's DVD release of Art Heist offers a good anamorphic transfer (1.78:1) with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras are limited to a trailer and a photo gallery. Keep-case.
—Gregory P. Dorr



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