The Good Thief | Chicago Reader

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Neil Jordan remakes Jean-Pierre Melville's classic French noir Bob le flambeur (1955), with Nick Nolte carrying the picture as aging gentleman criminal Bob Montagnet. In revising Melville, Jordan introduces needless complications: now Bob is a junkie as well as a gambler, the corrupt croupier and the vengeful stool pigeon have each been split into two new characters, and the casino heist has become a mere decoy to distract the police from an even bigger job. And the ending has been softened, at the expense of the climactic death scene that exposed Bob's blithe self-absorption. But Melville's seedy characters and engrossing friendships are well preserved, thanks largely to strategic redeployment of his crisp dialogue. As revamped caper films go, this offers considerably more texture than Steven Soderbergh's Ocean's 11. 108 min.

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