Honest Thief – Isn’t that a contradiction in terms?
Liam Neeson plays a professional bank robber (Tom) who has apparently amassed nine million dollars through his dirty deeds. The “honest” part of the story is that he then promises to return all the money he has stolen in return for a special deal – like a reduced sentence. He tries to make this deal with none other than the FBI.
Wait a minute…
OK. My immediate questions were: Has he not spent any of his ill-gotten gains? Nothing? Why ever not? Maybe he had always been honest and was keeping the money safe. Banks are clearly not safe if people like him can rob them. So maybe he was just being an alternative bank? Let’s leave that one for now… As part of the “deal” Tom also asks to be sent to a minimum security prison within an hour of Boston and with lots of visiting times. Cheeky eh? But possibly worth nine million dollars…
My curiosity aside, the most obvious question most people would ask is; Why would he want to do that? Good question. Well, it turns out that he has met a woman who he loves and wants to spend the rest of his life with. He can’t possibly live with the guilt of knowing he has robbed all that money (that he never spent). Basically he wants to be totally honest with her.
Back to the plot… (and possible spoiler alert)
But there’s a catch (of course). When Tom speaks to the Feds they seem interested enough. But then two different FBI agents turn up and when they see all the cash their greed kicks in and they realise that they con Tom – who after all is a wanted bank robber – and trouser the dosh. End of film.
No, no, no, wait! Obviously, it is never going to be that easy. One of the honest FEDs turns up and the situation quickly turns ugly. The honest FBI agent gets shot by one of the dishonest FEDs. His (not quite so dishonest) partner finds himself reluctantly going along with the plan. Lo and behold, Tom was a marine before a career in robbing banks (as they do) so he manages to fight his way out and escape. That doesn’t matter because the nasty FEDs can frame him for the murder of the nice FED. Tom then has to go on the run, initially with his lady friend – which quickly goes pear shaped. He is then hell bent on clearing his name and of course bring the dishonest FEDs to justice. Ah yes; justice. Something professional bank robbers know all about right?
What follows is a classic game of cat and mouse. The partner of the murdered agent soon realises there is more to the case than meets the eye. The situation unravels fairly rapidly amid the compulsory car chases and odd shoot out. It is pointless putting any more as it would be a spoiler. But it is really all pretty much predictable. One thing is that Tom was an explosives expert in the marine corps (not really a spoiler alert).
Critique & Conclusions
There are plenty of movies out there with similar themes. “Why the hell don’t the FBI just employ known criminals?” I hear you cry. “I don’t know” is my response.
I quite like Neeson in these type of movies. He always plays the same type and sounds exactly the same and shows the same (lack of) range of emotions. i.e. None as such! But he still gets way with it. A bit like Clint really. Not that I am comparing the two directly but their cam one dimensional acting just works.
His love interest is played by Kate Walsh and as actresses go these days she is definitely one of the least annoying. In fact I quite like her. The baddie, agent Nivens, is convincingly played by Jai Courtney. Also Tazzie the dog plays herself. Yes you read that correctly.
Overall it was an easy watch and on a five star scale I would give it a rating of (say) two and a half (maybe?). An average but watchable action movie with an average story with minimal plot twists and even fewer surprises.