The Thomas Crown Affair (1999)

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Release Date: August 6, 1999
Runtime: 113 minutes
Rating: R
Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Director: John McTiernan
Cast: Pierce Brosnan; Rene Russo; Denis Leary; Ben Gazzara; Frankie Faison

This is a remake of the Steve McQueen – Faye Dunaway classic, unseen (at least at the time of this review) by me, but from what I understand, it was a sexy movie back then. Well, it is certainly one sexy movie now! Director John McTiernan (“Die Hard”), one of my favorite directors, saturates the film with lots of shadows and fade effects; this would have looked great as a black-and-white movie. Those aspects, in combination with the suave-as-shit Brosnan and the combustible Russo, make for an extremely stylish film and a beautiful “motion picture.”

Brosnan is Thomas Crown: billionaire financier, art collector, and all-around kick-ass man about town. It’s particularly fitting that Pierce Brosnan who, at the time of this movie was also playing James Bond, plays Crown. Who wouldn’t want to be this guy? Cool, unaffected air, snappy dresser, gorgeous women…he is living (or playing) the ultimate male escapist fantasy. He is smart, almost impossibly rich, and able to mastermind a major art heist at the Met in the middle of the day. I’d take it!

Brosnan is perfectly matched by a super-sexy Rene Russo, as Catherine Banning, the art insurer hot on his tail. Russo has never been sexier than she is here. One of the pleasures of this movie is watching two movie stars in their forties act sexy circles around their younger counterparts. This is how it’s done, folks! The chemistry these two have is almost enough to make one blush. That fire, combined with the smooth lensing (from cinematographer Tom Priestly) and the warm color palette that McTiernan uses to design his film, make “The Thomas Crown Affair” a phenomenally cool, chic movie.

The rest of the tech specs are aces across the board, but particular mention must be made of Bill Conti’s sublime score, which flawlessly underscores the playful attitude of the movie. It’s like a jaunty little stroll along a cobblestone side street…just happy and fun. You can’t take this stuff seriously for one minute and the movie makes no intimations to be anything but a sexy, good time. It’s that approach and the movie’s clear success at its objective that make “The Thomas Crown Affair” one of my favorite movies.

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