Art theft hasn’t looked so cool and glossy since ‘The Thomas Crown Affair’. Sure, Sandra Bullock and co. rocked looks in ‘Oceans 8’ but this new crime flick available to watch on VOD now possesses a little flicker of something extra thanks to the sharp pairing of its model-ready leads.
Ivan (Theo James) is an efficient art thief who is tied into the hands of a Greek kingpin named Dimitri (Fred Melamed). At a shindig with a metallic statue up for grabs, Ivan meets Elyse (Emily Ratajkowski); a part-time actress who owes money to a greedy producer. Together they hope to score one last con to help each other out of their sticky situations.
‘Lying and Stealing’ does take what seems like too long a while to get into anything juicy, but once the team up of Ivan and Elyse happens the film moves along nicely. The first half might be a slow and less engaging segment but the heist antics burning through Giona Ostinelli & Sonya Belousova’s score are a constant hit. There’s a low hum and reverb with hi-hats and dark jazz which layers a polished shine over the crucial criminal carry ons.
The story itself isn’t the most original of tales and the climactic ending; though glistening with tension isn’t a surprising twist, even if it might think it’s clever. However, the teeny gulps of hustling along the way do a fine job in showcasing the perfectly attractive pair as smooth operators. When they appear together, you can eat up the slick nature of their business and there is a definite chemistry sizzling between them.
In the last twenty minutes of the movie, the apprehension properly takes hold of you and a Laguna Beach house setting is absolutely oozing with unnerving tension, thanks in most part to the calculated, intimidating performance from Melamed. The way he owns the scene is something to dread yet enjoy, even if you know what’s going on out of sight, you can’t shake the feeling of chills as Dimitri enjoys the company of Elyse.
So, whilst this con-driven feature may not be fully heavy on unique scams on the wealthy, there is a wealth of suave know-how portrayed by quick thinking Ivan neatly played by James and glamour-puss Elyse is a vision of brains and beauty thanks to Ratajkowski, who more than holds her own.
It’s nothing to write home about but give it time and ‘Lying and Stealing’ does finally reach a point of well-built stakes and if nothing else it’s a fairly enjoyable exhibition headlining the art of James and Ratajkowski as a smoking hot duo.
Written by Troy Balmayer
STAR RATING –★★★
Question: What is your favourite performance from a heist film?
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Thanks to Strike Media for screening access