Liam Neeson as soon as once more performs a person with a really explicit set of abilities—safecracking and bombmaking amongst them—in “Sincere Thief,” a no-frills, low-thrills model of the form of gritty motion image that has marked the veteran actor’s late-stage profession.
These motion pictures could be gripping and visceral, as within the first “Taken” and “The Gray.” They are often strained and flimsy, as within the third “Taken” and “Non-Cease.” “Sincere Thief” falls someplace in the course of that vary. This can be very mediocre, giving its robust supporting solid little to work with past automobile chases and shallow characterizations. Neeson is stable and dependable on the middle, as at all times. He takes all the things critically—each gravelly risk, each intestine punch—and at 68, he’s an unbelievable bodily specimen to behold. However whereas he provides it his all, he’s not getting a lot in return. Completely serviceable and totally forgettable, “Sincere Thief” nonetheless provides just a few pleasing particulars to maintain it from being a complete slog.
The premise alone is intriguing from director and co-writer Mark Williams, co-creator of the sequence “Ozark.” Neeson stars as Tom Carter, a legendary financial institution robber referred to as the “In and Out Bandit.” (It’s a moniker he loathes, because it makes him sound haphazard, and he prides himself on his precision.) Tom has stolen $9 million from 12 banks throughout seven states over a number of years. However when he steps right into a Boston storage middle to stash all that loot, he instantly connects with the beautiful, quick-witted girl behind the counter: Kate Walsh’s Annie, who works there to assist pay for grad faculty. A yr later, they’re in love, and he’s so taken by her (pun supposed) that he needs to go straight and forge a brand new life collectively.
So he tries to show himself in and switch over all that cash to the FBI. Positive, he may have simply dropped it off anonymously and began over. However Tom is an trustworthy thief, and he’s hoping that by cooperating, he’ll get a decreased sentence. As affected person as he was planning and executing all his crimes, he’s in a rush to get them behind him. Hassle is, the old-school brokers he dials up (Jeffrey Donovan and Robert Patrick) don’t imagine him. They’ve heard approach too many false confessions through the years. In order that they humor him by sending their underlings, a scenery-chewing Jai Courtney and an underused Anthony Ramos, to pay him a go to on the lodge the place he’s ready for them. And what needs to be an easy transaction turns violent when Courtney’s Agent Nivens will get the brilliant concept that he and Ramos’ Agent Corridor ought to take the cash for themselves as a substitute.
Such seemingly sophisticated characters touring in such murky circles needs to be compelling. However all the things occurs so rapidly, and with so little build-up of suspense, that the numerous shady dealings and double-crosses all through “Sincere Thief” don’t register as powerfully as they need to. There’s nothing to Courtney’s character past greed. Donovan gives some substance because the wisecracking, level-headed agent making an attempt to resolve the case, and there’s an amusing working bit involving the adorably scruffy canine he inherited from his ex-wife of their divorce. However a lot of what constitutes the meat of the script from Williams and Steve Allrich is generic automobile chases, fistfights and shootouts, punctuated by an insistent, percussion-heavy rating.
Neeson has a good, sparky chemistry with Walsh, and there’s a bit extra to her character than the standard damsel in misery (though the beating she suffers late within the sport is gratuitously brutal). The items are there for a stronger movie, which makes “Sincere Thief” so disappointing. Nonetheless, we most likely don’t have lengthy to attend for the subsequent automobile wherein Neeson places his explicit set of abilities to make use of.
For transparency’s sake, it feels essential to state that this movie was screened through hyperlink regardless of its availability solely in theaters. The intent of this evaluate is to not encourage or discourage anybody from attending a theatrical screening at this particular time. It’s an evaluation of the work itself for posterity.