Getting Out of the Game? A Guide to “One Last Job” Movies
Monday, September 27th, 2010
In Ben Affleck’s Boston bank-robbery thriller "The Town", Affleck’s character has to rob Fenway Park as his final job so that he can settle down with the woman he took hostage on his previous heist, then fell in love with. This plot places "The Town" in the lengthy cinematic tradition of "one last job" movies. In this crime movie subgenre, a disillusioned criminal carries out a big score right before he gets out of the game for good. "The Town" got us thinking about other movies like it, so we came up with three heist classics from the past decade to help you finance your retirement in the south of France.
Inception – 2010
Inception – 2010
This heist movie instant classic doesn’t involve jewels or gold Krugerrands or any of that boring, cliched stuff. Instead, the bounty in Christopher Nolan's sophisticated blockbuster is sweet, sweet memory juice, and instead of stealing stuff, they’re putting stuff in. Still, all the elements of the “one last job” genre are here: a big payoff that will let the grizzled protagonist ride off into the sunset, a crack team of stock characters (the right-hand man, the loose cannon, the wide-eyed naïf), and a wild card that screws everything up. As an added bonus, you will be able to argue with your friends about the ending when you’re trapped in limbo for seventy years.
The Italian Job – 2003
"The Italian Job" is a remake of a 1969 movie, but F. Gary Gray's update edges out the original on the grounds that this one has Mos Def (remember when that guy acted? And rapped? He should do those things again). Here, Mark Wahlberg steals back a bunch of gold that was stolen from him by sniveling Edward Norton. "The Italian Job" is a great example of the breezy, globetrotting heist caper. It stands out from others in the genre because it is one of Jason Statham’s last funny roles before he became an action star and Seth Green’s plans for what to do with his share of the earnings (buy speakers so loud they blow women’s clothes off).
Sexy Beast – 2000
The heist is almost an afterthought in Jonathan Glazer's weird little genre experiment. Retired safecracker Ray Winstone is living a quiet life in Spain when he is visited by former associate Ben Kingsley, who attempts to persuade him to score one more time, and all hell breaks loose. Kingsley’s insane, profane performance is rivaled only by Dennis Hopper’s in "Blue Velvet" for sheer terrifying hilarity. “I think you should turn this opportunity yes” doesn’t make sense on paper, but in Kingsley’s mouth, it’s awfully persuasive.
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