Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Italian Job (1969) 8.25/10


Just released from jail, Charlie Croker (Michael Caine) takes on the job of stealing 4million pounds worth of gold from the Chinese in Turin. With king pin boss, Mr. Bridger (Noel Coward), financing the operation, and the Mafia watching his every move, Croker must use a dead friends heist plan that involves a massive traffic jam to get away with the crime.

Inarguably the godfather of the chase scene films, The Italian Job is a colorful look at the criminal underworld. Up beat, funny, and a final 45minute chase scene that would get the rocks off anyone, it's impossible to see anyone really hating this movie. The directing flows with the film, and the actors, while not asked to do much, each deliver their performances with pristine class.

Michael Caine is undoubtably the star, and plays a usual clever womanizer that most gangster films of the 60s/70s put forth. The writing is witty, and the chase scene purley classic. It's easy to see so many of the things that have been borrowed from it in the last 40 years, and yet Italian Job holds up quite nicely in the face of such.

Where the movie struggles is in its characters. Beyond Croker, Bridger, and the hilarious Professor Peach we don't get to know anything about them. Even at there, the level of character development is very weak. Bridger is hard-nosed, rich, and runs a criminal underworld from prison. Croker has a thing for women, but deep down loves his girlfriend. Peach is smart, and has a thing for "big" women. The three create some fun character moments, but overall they won't provide you with any real reason to cheer, and want to see the characters succeed.

Ultimately The Italian Job boils down to a film you watch solely for the Job itself, the entertainment value of it, and nothing more. Of course, there's always those sexy Minis :).

If you're looking for the some mindless entertainment, and easily the best chase scene ever made, then look no further than the 1969 classic The Italian Job. If you're looking for something a bit deeper, you may not find it here.

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