THICK AS THIEVES (DVD) Image

After making a respectable premiere at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival, this Alec Baldwin starring vehicle fell from view before just now surfacing on video and DVD. Watching the film, it’s easy to see how and why it went into limbo. This is one of those self-consciously quirky crime films that feel more dated with as each passing second brings the film world farther away from Pulp Fiction. The plot is par for the course for the genre: a thief-for-hire (Baldwin) is doublecrossed by a crime boss (Michael Jai White) after pulling off a simple job, leading to a back-and-forth cycle of revenge. What is supposed to distinguish Scott Sanders’ film are the weird tangents in the dialogue and the off-center characters. Alas, only one character makes a lasting impression, and that is White’s Pointy Williams, a ghetto crime boss who fancies himself a classy connoisseur of the finer things in life; had the film been given the intended theatrical release, this could have been White’s breakthrough role. Unfortunately, though, the main character is Baldwin’s, and he simply goes through the motions in a part that isn’t as vividly written as others in the piece; not just Pointy, but also characters like Pointy’s right-hand man (Andre Braugher). At only a few minutes over 90 minutes, Thick as Thieves is goes by swiftly and easily, but the anticlimactic conclusion all but negates whatever small pleasures are to be had along the way.
USA’s DVD treatment for the film is similarly nice but nothing special. Both the widescreen and pan-and-scan versions are included, as well as subtitles in three languages. The trailer and select cast filmographies are the only supplements. All of these features are wrapped together in clean and nice menus that befit the overall nondescript presentation.
Specifications: Full frame and 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen; English 5.1 Surround; English Dolby Surround; English (for the hearing impaired, Spanish, and French subtitles; English closed captioning.

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