The Thomas Crown Affair
Remakes have been a staple of the movie industry for a long time. They range from scene by scene re-filmings like the recent Psycho to remakes that show a different aspect or modernization of the story and characters. Fortunately, The Thomas Crown Affair falls into the later category. First made in 1968 with Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway, the movie was a breakout hit of the time. The story is about a jaded millionaire that robs banks for excitement. Chased by a beautiful insurance investigator they fall in love and the quandary begins. In this modernization of the tale Crown is now a billionaire and it is fine art he is after not mere money. The film develops the characters far better than the original and holds your attention through devices that range from thrilling to the sensual.
The cast was well chosen. Crown played by the ever debonair, Pierce Brosnan. He gives off an ever-present air of sophistication and confidence. He is every inch the billionaire in charge of his life and in control every moment. The insurance investigator is played by Rene Russo perhaps best known for her role in the Lethal Weapon series. She commands the screen in every scene. Her presence dominates the films in the most pleasant manner possible. The original film received a lot of media attention for the long (for then) kiss between McQueen and Dunaway. In this update the media went wild for the inclusion of several nude scenes with Russo. She certainly shows that older women can still be sensual and incredibly beautiful. This movie is basically a two-person film although the addition of Dennis Leary as the police detective assigned the investigation of the painting is a well-utilized counterpoint to the chemistry between Russo and Brosnan. He has come a long way from his stand up comedy and a series of minor films and bombs.
What can be said about director John McTiernan? He is best know for his action films like Predator, two of the Die Hard films and Hunt for Red October. This film has its share of action but Mctiernan demonstrates his ability in character development and keeping the plot moving and interesting to the audience. His audio commentary while sparse at times helps provide interesting insight to the process he utilized to make this film interesting. While many critics under valued this film it holds its own as a movie of interest and enjoyment. If you are old enough to remember the first movie dont be mislead by comparisons, this movie stands on its own.
The disc is near reference quality. The video is incredibly clear and crisp. The audio is the real star point of the disc. The Dolby 5.1 sound is better used than most movies of this genre. The surround field is not just used for explosions but provides subtle touches like footsteps behind you or people coming into frame. The music is a blues-jazz fusion that stands on its own. The commentary track and full anamorphic 1:2.35 picture adds to the value of an enjoyable film.