Nominee #7 - The Italian Job (2003)
Charlie Croker and his team plan a gold heist as revenge for being betrayed and left to die in Italy.
F. Gary Gray Writer:
This slick American remake of the 1969 British heist classic brings together Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Edward Norton, Seth Green, Jason Statham, Mos Def and Donald Sutherland and is directed by F. Gary Gray. The first heist is the one that sets up the second. John Bridger ( Donald Sutherland in a true to form cameo) gives his proteges what looks like the heist of their careers. Gold bars from a safe in a Venetian palazzo. The boat chase through the canals of Venice is shot in style. Just when all looks like having gone to plan, Steve ( Norton) betrays them and kills Bridger leaving the rest of the team for dead. The movie gives us the story of their getting back ay Steve. Stella
(Theron) - John’s daughter is enlisted and the team is complete.
Good heist movies have a difficult target, an elaborate plan to overcome all the defences set up and then a great chase thrown in. The Italian Job has all of that. The chase sets out to do a difficult job- pardon the pun - by trying to replicate the original iconic Mini Cooper chase from the 1969 version and it more than succeeds. The cars should have got top billing as stars in their own right. Theron at the wheel gives the chase the added oomph that the original did not have. The actors did most of the stunt driving themselves. All of them took a stunt driving course, and everyone acknowledged that Charlize Theron was easily the best driver among them).
Good heist movies have a difficult target, an elaborate plan to overcome all the defences set up and then a great chase thrown in. The Italian Job has all of that.
But in the run-up to the car chase, all the characters get to unleash some delightful moments. Wahlberg is irrepressible as Charlie Croker. He’s the brains and leader of the team. Mos Def has a hilarious moment in the encounter with Skinny Pete. Seth Green as Lyle has some great one-liners and Statham has enough chances to show off his driving skills. In fact, the only one who looks like he doesn’t belong in Norton who apparently said he took the role because of the contract with the studio rather than by choice. It shows.
When the team is forced to come out of cover to save Stella from Steve who discovers her real identity, it seems like they’ve lost the element of surprise. But as Charlie tells Steve: “You’ve got no imagination.” And that becomes the weapon they use to complete their revenge - trading surprise for some imagination belted up in Mini-Coopers.