What is it about heist movies that make them so popular? All a producer needs to do is find a good screenwriter to craft a clever con, find some likable and engaging actors, and, voila! butts in the seats. They seem to consistently garner praise from critics and audiences alike, almost without exception. Catch Me if you Can, The Usual Suspects, Ocean's 11 (and its remake and the remake's sequels), The Italian Job (and its remake), A Fish Called Wanda, The Brothers Bloom and so on and so forth. They are all entertaining, and I think this actually says something positive about American theater-goers: while it's depressing that so many people are easily entertained by cheap and [literally] explosive thrills provided by such inane filmmakers as Michael Bay and Roland Emmerich, they also like to be forced to think, to use their brains – and they may not even realize it. Con movies are so much fun because the audience is kept guessing – we are invited to play along – and, if the movie is done right, the audience itself is being conned, too, and is often rewarded with a satisfying twist revealing that we were part of the story all along. That's entertainment, folks!
Of course, one of the greatest con movies of all time is 1973's The Sting, directed by George Roy Hill (Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, The World According to Garp) and starring Paul Newman, Robert Redford, and Robert Shaw. Shaw is Doyle Lonnegan, a mob boss with a number of banks under his control. Redford is Johnny Hooker, a con man whose partner was killed because of Lonnegan as the result of a heist gone wrong. Newman is Henry Gondorff, an older con man who teams up with Hooker to pull off a huge heist at the expense of Lonnegan. Shenanigans ensue.
Cinemark Tinseltown presents two screenings of The Sting today, Wednesday, at 2:00 and 7:00. Tinseltown is located at 4400 Towne Center Drive, in the Springhurst Shopping Center. Further theater information can be found at the Tinseltown website.
Image: Internet Movie Database