ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  f. gary gray

RATED  -  pg-13

GENRE  -  heist

LENGTH  -  104 minutes

RELEASED  -  30 may 2003

DISTRIBUTOR  -  paramount pictures

OFFICIAL SITE  -  italian job

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $60,000,000
the italian job - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from the italian job at

buy the dvd from the italian job at

a band of thieves pulls off the ultimate heist for revenge over the death of one of their own.

spider-man appears in the crowd in l.a. after the explosion.


picture from the italian job

picture from the italian job

picture from the italian job


three out of four possible stars

Although purists might complain that this remake impugns upon the honor of a revered heist movie of the 1960's and that not enough time has passed between remakes to really warrant one, those purists will be surprised at the entertainment value of this picture. Though it won't win awards for its intelligence quotient, director F. Gary Gray and his crew seem to have made excitement their top priority. This movie passes by fairly quickly and hits all the required marks, but fortunately, it doesn't feel like it's a story tread upon too often. And that might be one of Gray's biggest successes.

Since the film is a remake, one could only hope that it would do justice to the original. But in the spirit of changing times, this film is not so much an homage as it is a different way of looking at the story. It's been updated a bit and "dumbed" down a bit and is only what one would expect from a modern brainless action film. Though it doesn't have the same finesse as similar caper movie, Ocean's 11 (the 2001 edition), it still glides along quite quickly from reel to reel. And fans of heist and action flicks should be pleased at the pace. Indeed, that aspect might be what saves this picture from remake hell.

It's just a fun heist picture that leaves you with an "I wanna be that cool" feeling when the credits start to role. By placing a super amount of effort into the production value, music, and cinematography, this picture will always satisfy the ears and eyes, even if the brain is left out in the cold. The musical score by John Powell, the genius composer behind the soundtrack to The Bourne Identity, has created yet another score worth its weight in gold. The unique compositions on the score are so modern and different from standard orchestral scores that the soundtrack is worth owning in its own right.

It is evident that the cinematographer (Wally Pfister - also the director of photography on Memento) and the editor (Christopher Rouse) had Powell's ear at least one time during the production as the different "elements" of this film fit together so well. The look and feel of the film are quite fluid and are an interesting combination of slick and raw make the film a stylish jog and with the snappy editing, the piece clips along with a multitude of eye candy. Which brings us to the human content of the film. With a cast that would look just as at home on the cover of a fashion magazine (costume designer Mark Bridges obviously has the pulse of current fashion trends), and a script that throws in enough wry jokes to keep the characters sounding verbally playful, the actors deliver enough value to the film in their own right, completing the picture's full persona of "cool."

Though Edward Norton's choice of facial hair for the film was probably not the best decision (bottom line: he looks weird with a pencil-thin mustache), his performance is right on target for his character, as is to be expected with an actor of his caliber. And co-star Mark Wahlberg may not have perfected his acting abilities as well as has Norton, but he pulls his character off well, only giving a hint of his Massachusetts accent. Charlize Theron has likewise seen varying degrees of success in her films but seems to have pulled off a winning performance in this movie. Now it bears mentioning that Seth Green, Jason Statham, and Mos Def were all cast as humorous back-up to the lead romantic triangle of players, they still make quite the hilarious addition to the film.

Overall, The Italian Job won't impress all viewers, but it still has the potential to entertain a vast portion of that audience. The film's definitely more fun than brainy, but that's part of its appeal. The basic human emotions of greed, revenge, and love are all present to some degree, and with the fine production values and impressive musical score, everything about this film is well made.

You'll be surprised how quickly this film's 104 minutes pass by. Fans of the action genre will be the audience members most pleased, but if one were to generalize this film and place it into a certain category, "fun" would probably be in the title of its placement. Undemanding and quickly paced, The Italian Job is a more amusing diversion in the company of heavier action films currently in release.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

content 2000 - 2005 - ninth symphony films - photographs paramount pictures 2003
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