Thief of Hearts | Chicago Reader

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Douglas Day Stewart, the screenwriter of An Officer and a Gentleman, makes his debut as a director with this curious piece of self-subverting pornography. Though the filmmaking is strictly on the level of rock-video slickness (each shot seems like an image from a GQ fashion spread), Stewart retains his talent for casting romantic conventions into commercially potent contemporary forms. The film begins as a barely sublimated rape fantasy (a housewife is horrified to discover that a cat burglar has stolen her secret diaries, but then starts getting off on the idea), but Stewart moves quickly to defuse his own premise: by the end of the film the leather-clad stud has become a confused adolescent—not a lover but a son. It's a shrewd deflection of the theme, designed to make the sexual fantasy socially acceptable. The characters are all complete voids, ready to accept the audience's projections. With Steven Bauer, Barbara Williams, and John Getz.

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