Frank is an expert professional safecracker, specializing in high-profile diamond jobs. After having spent many years in prison, he has a very concrete picture of what he wants out of life—including a nice home, a wife, and kids. As soon as he is able to assemble the pieces of this collage, by means of his chosen profession, he intends to retire and become a model citizen. In an effort to accelerate this process, he signs on to take down a huge score for a big-time gangster. Unfortunately, Frank’s obsession for his version of the American Dream allows him to overlook his natural wariness and mistrust, when making the deal for his final job. He is thus ensnared and robbed of his freedom, his independence, and, ultimately, his dream. —IMDb
Michael Kenneth Mann (born February 5, 1943) is an American film director, screenwriter, and producer. For his work, he has received nominations from international organizations and juries, including those at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Cannes and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He has produced the Academy Awards ceremony twice, first in 1999 with the 72nd annual Academy Awards and second in 2004 with the 77th annual ceremony.
Mann was born in Chicago of Jewish heritage, the son of grocers Esther and Jack Mann. His father was a Ukraine immigrant and World War II veteran and his mother came from a family native to Chicago. Mann was close to his father and his paternal grandfather. He grew up in the Humboldt Park neighborhood and immersed himself in the burgeoning Chicago blues-music scene as a teenager.
He studied English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he was an active member of the Pi Lambda Phi fraternity, and developed… read more
Michael Mann brings his slick, sylized neon sheen to what is at heart a eurocentric heist/crime thriller which pays homage to classics such as Rififi and Le Cercle Rouge. Despite this, it is very much a Michael Mann movie and includes many of the motifs of his later work, executed with precision and expertise. James Caan gives, what is for me, a career best performance as the ex-con looking for one last score to fulfill his dreams of a 'normal' life. Very much a multi-dimensional character, emotionally scarred after a lengthy stint behind bars, longing for a family, a criminal with a strongly-defined sense of honour (unlike the cops looking to shake him down for their cut), Caan manages to perfectly balance toughness and fragility (the scene in the adoption office is particularly affecting). It isn't a particularly original story; but the combination of Mann's trademark style, expertly paced storytelling and exciting set pieces, along with some solid performances (including strong support from Tuesday Weld, James Belushi and Dennis Farina) and a superb Tangerine Dream score, make for one of THE great crime movies of the 80's.
You couldn't ask for anything better — wind, cold that makes you put your collar up and shove your hands in your pockets, a threat of rain
Thief is a remarkably world-weary feature debut. Michael Mann was only 38 when he directed it in 1981, yet he was already an old pro, with
Above: Stand-ins help rehearse a scene from Public Enemies. Photo by Rob Olewinski. I spent a few days in the summer of 2008 on the set of