The Italian Job 2003 Throwback Movie Review

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I have had a fascination with the design and looks of a Mini Cooper for a long time. It started the first time I watched 2003’s The Italian Job.

The Italian Job is a remake of a 1969 Brittish film of the same name that starred Michael Cain and Benny Hill. The 2003 film stars Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Edward Norton, Jason Statham and Seth Green.

While the 1969 version is considered to be a comedy caper, I would say the 2003 version is a straight heist film with revenge at its core.

The Characters

Mark Wahlberg is the mastermind, and Charlie Croker is that guy you can trust and will always be there for you. Donald Sutherland as John Bridger is the safecracker and the one that built the crew, a father figure to them all. Jason Statham is “Handsome Rob”, the wheelman, can drive anything and ALL the ladies love him. Seth Green is Lyle the computer expert, need any computer hacked and controlled? This character can do it and do with a smile, just don’t bring up Napster.

All of them put in good performances but the two that really make the film is Charlize Theron, as Stella Bridger, and Edward Norton, as Steve Frazelli. Stella is John’s daughter, a safe and vault “technician”. Theron puts nuances in her performance that really stick out. Small emotions, like worry and nervousness, are prevalent as is her joy. Steve Frazelli is the inside man and eventual turncoat. Norton has always been able to play a compelling villain and here he is able to put that little extra into it.

Pace

The first half of this film is slow and you can feel it. You end up asking yourself when are they going to actually steal something? But during this time the backstory for each character is fleshed out. Here is where you understand the motivations for why they’re doing what they are doing.

When the action picks up during the final act, it’s riveting and exciting. You are connected to these characters on a deeper level, one that only can come from by understanding them. It’s this final chase through Los Angeles in three Mini Coopers that started my attraction to them.

Final Thoughts

The Italian Job is one of those movies that requires some suspension of disbelieve. For instance,  it’s difficult to believe that it wouldn’t be illegal for a helicopter to fly that low in Los Angeles but it did make for good visual tension. I enjoy the character work that this movie puts in. The action scenes are fast-paced even if there are not many of them.

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