Any actor, however good, does get bogged down by the numerous idiosyncracies
that his fans start associating with him, as the number of films that he has
done increases with time. Pierce Brosnan has done a volte-face leaving behind
his irritating Bond image. He is still impeccably dressed; he is still cool
and unruffled in the most ruffling of circumstances; and he still delivers bone-tickling
one-liners with a deadpan expression. But there is a human element to Thomas
Crown that makes him a really lovable character.
Pierce Brosnan plays Thomas Crown, a rags-to-riches riser,
an ex-pugilist who has done it all and has always come out the winner. He is
a billionaire who pulls off an amazingly planned and beautifully executed heist
just for the kick, when he can actually afford to buy it.
The museum is frantic over the loss of their precious Monet. Enter Catherine
Banning (Rene Russo), an employee of the insurance company covering the painting.
She's got $5 million to gain and nothing to lose. She soon closes in on Crown
as the one and only suspect. Here starts a cat and mouse game, which intensifies
with every scene.
She knows he's done it. He knows she knows. And the fun part is that both
of them don't bother acting innocent. Everyone knows who the culprit is. It
is just a question of proving it. As moves and counter-moves are made, the Crown
and Banning chemistry starts revving up and they take off on a vacation. The
locales are beautiful and a treat to the eyes. But the director gets a little
lost in the locales and the atmosphere, and the movie seems to meander about
pointlessly. But with the climax approaching he soon pulls up his socks and
tightens the slack.
Crown offers to replace the painting undetected if Banning will come away with
him to an exotic resort as a fugitive. This forms the crux of the movie. Banning
in two minds - she's not sure she can trust Crown because of the glimpses she
gets, on and off, of him with a gorgeous female (Esther Canadas). Her decision
does not deter Crown who, in another brilliantly masterminded operation, replaces
the painting. The climax is fittingly crafted with plenty of twists.
The movie is a masterpiece in subtlety. There are no fancy gadgets, no deadly
villains and definitely no awe-inspiring explosions. All these elements are
replaced with lifted eyebrows, eloquent silences and convincing performances
from Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo. The chemistry between these two literally
sets the screen on fire.
Denis Leary plays an inconsequential role as a police detective in charge of
the case. Faye Dunaway plays a cute little cameo as Crown's shrink. A well-crafted
movie that definitely deserves applause. And one last piece of advice; Bond
fans, please don't expect Brosnan to go, "The name is Crown, Thomas Crown."
He has much better things to do in this movie.