Rated R for some sexuality and language.
Directed By: John McTiernan
Written By: Alan Trustman and Leslie Dixon
Staring: Pierce Brosnan, Rene Russo, Denis Leary, Ben Gazzara, and Faye Dunaway
This is an elegant crime, done by an elegant person. It’s not about the money. -Catherine Banning
This re-make of the 1968 version with Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway, is different than it’s original though it bears the same concept and character’s. It certainly doesn’t lack any of the hot and steamy sexual tension that McQueen and Dunaway displayed in the original. The playful chemistry that bounced back and forth between Brosnan and Russo was so alive, it almost seemed you could reach out and touch it.
A Monet painting worth $100,000,000 is stolen and the top dog insurance investigator, Catherine Banning joins ranks with the local police force to track down the thief. The investigator finds herself chasing a billionaire named Thomas Crown that has everything to lose and doesn’t seem to be concerned. In fact, he’s arrogantly hinted that he is the one responsible. As a minor complication, Thomas and Catherine find themselves attracted to each other, and now the stakes have gotten even higher as the game of cat and mouse is now even more dangerous.
What was really intriguing, was the conflict of interest between Brosnan, being the suspected criminal and Russo as the one in pursuit of him. He being a rich billionaire, and her the insurance headhunter, makes her not quite law enforcement and him not quite the nasty typical criminal. The contrast of Denis Leary’s character, the “normal guy”, was a subtle reminder that these two character’s were not your average people, and their affair was nothing of the norm.
Faye Dunaway’s cameo as Thomas Crown’s psychiatrist was a fun addition to bring the reminder of the original take on the story, but Faye’s own sultry demeanor came across clearly in her cleverness with Crown while he began to lose his composer due to his attraction to Catherine. The magnetism between the two of them is undeniable, and the way each of them try to keep away from the other scheming one makes for a lot of sexually tense scenes as they both deny their obvious desire for each other. As we know, that only lasts for so long, and then their motivations begin to strike conflict in each of them.
Rene Russo has never been more sensuous and appealing than she was in her role as Catherine. As a tough, clever, and certainly unique woman, she is used to being the alpha-male. She wants something and she gets it. She even tells Crown, “I always get my man”. Her own sexual prowess and confidence is tangible, but when coupled with Brosnan’s own suave bravado, the combination is electric. The casting of each of them was pure pleasure. With Denis Leary in the back round as Detective Michael McCann, one would expect his character to get lost in the sexy overtones created by Brosnan and Russo, but just the opposite happens. McCann is actually the most three dimensional character of the story. He is the connection to reality, and his “good guy” character who’s goals and aspirations are much less complicated than the other two, meshed with his own personal charisma, makes his character likable and sound. This was a really good role for him.
The Thomas Crown Affair existed for one reason: to entertain. The character’s were fun, easy on the eyes, and adventurous in their criminal behavior. It was a sexy movie that wasn’t intended to be a realistic romance story, it was meant to be a love adventure between two extraordinary characters. The sensual overtones that flooded the story made their relationship that much more forbidden, and that much more engaging. This is an adult film for an adult audience. It’s a great movie that hopefully won’t get lost in the years.