The Thomas Crown Affair

This swank, self-consciously erotic caper flick gets off to a dreadfully ordinary start, but finds its footing when the head games begin. For self-made billionaire Thomas Crown (Pierce Brosnan), life isn't worth living without a challenge. So he orchestrates the daredevil, daylight theft of a priceless Monet from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It looks...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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This swank, self-consciously erotic caper flick gets off to a dreadfully ordinary start, but finds its footing when the head games begin. For self-made billionaire Thomas Crown (Pierce Brosnan), life isn't worth living without a challenge. So he orchestrates the daredevil, daylight theft of a priceless Monet from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It looks as though he's home free until Catherine Banning (Rene Russo) sashays into the investigation, ostensibly on behalf of the museum's insurance company. Banning immediately figures Crown for the mastermind and is sure she can retrieve the painting, enriching her bank account in the process. Her plan, however, involves getting dangerously close to the charismatic Crown, and the two consummate game players are immediately drawn to each other. Or are they? The apparently incendiary romance might be part of a game whose stakes grow higher with each kiss. This remake of the fondly remembered 1968 Faye Dunaway/Steve McQueen picture is surprisingly faithful; screenwriters Leslie Dixon and Kurt Wimmer tweak Alan Trustman's original script without resolving its fundamental structural imbalance — the attenuated opening heist delays the start of the far more interesting cat-and-mouse romance. And their new scenes involving Crown and his psychiatrist (Dunaway) serve no purpose except to accommodate Dunaway's diva-ish presence. But while the first film was distinguished by annoyingly gimmicky camera tricks, this one glides along on sheer, luxurious gloss (very like ENTRAPMENT, in fact, which beat to the box office and in turn owes a huge debt to the first THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR). It's enjoyable poppycock, obsessed with the trappings of wealth (the camera lingers as lovingly on expensive clothes, lavish dwellings and rich-boy toys as on Russo and Brosnan's often bare flesh) and in love with its own chic affectations.

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  • Released: 1999
  • Rating: R
  • Review: This swank, self-consciously erotic caper flick gets off to a dreadfully ordinary start, but finds its footing when the head games begin. For self-made billionaire Thomas Crown (Pierce Brosnan), life isn't worth living without a challenge. So he orchestrat… (more)

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