Film Review: The Thieves

The Thieves: Raising the Bar by Sierra Fox

Big. Loud. Dazzling.

For we have known the summer blockbusters already, known them all. Stories we’ve already seen. Jokes we’ve already heard. Characters we’ve already loved.

Indeed, The Thieves embraces this formula: an impossible jewel heist, the high jinks in pulling off such a feat, and the typical motley band of seasoned criminals.  But this film definitely raises the bar.

The cast are simply stellar. Kim Yun Seok’s brilliant portrayal of criminal mastermind, Macao Park, is calculated, menacing, yet shamelessly vulnerable. Hong Kong star, Angelica Lee, fills the screen with her piercing, unrelenting intensity, often stealing the stage from lead actress, Kim Hye Soo. Veterans Simon Yam and Kim Hae Suk cook up a chemistry with heaps of sophistication and touches of tenderness. Giggles and facepalms are abound with Oh Dal Su’s perfect playing of the buffoon.

Witty dialogue dripping with decadence invokes Tarantino on occasion, fluently traversing languages in its international setting. It’s worth pointing out, however, that the English subtitles sometimes stray a bit far from the spoken lines.

Auteur Choi Dong Hun’s careful attention to detail doesn’t disappoint, either. Color and contrast coyly flavor the mood of each scene. Sets seek to share stories of their own.

Still, though, The Thieves is in no way an art house film. Rather, it is a refreshingly well crafted piece of entertainment: fun, exciting, and sexy.

And I want to see it again.

– Quick bullet-point remarks:   Dialogue – dirty, authentic, Tarantino

Story – flashback woven

Creative shots – remarkable restraint, dramatic shots are reserved for particularly intense, operatic moments.

Subtitles – how does “힘내자” (literally ‘let’s keep up our strengths’) get translated to “I love you?”

Languages – Multilanguages (Korean, English, Cantonese, etc) handled gracefully

– About writer: In need of a weather upgrade, Sierra Fox left her home of Bristol, UK in 2009, soon settling in San Diego. She is fond of warm days barefoot in the sand, warm nights snuggling with her dogs, and warm memories of teaching English in Seoul.


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