Movie Review By Monica Sullivan
"The Thomas Crown Affair" was every bit as fluffy in 1968 as it is in 1999, but the original film had two Oscar-nominated stars, Steve McQueen, then 38, and Faye Dunaway, then 27, expert direction by Norman Jewison, spectacular camera work by Haskell Wexler, intriguing chess imagery and Michel Legrand's Oscar-winning song, "The Windmills Of Your Mind" which hovers over the re-make like a ghost. Actually, Faye Dunaway, now 58, also hovers over the remake like a ghost, in the extraneous role of Thomas Crown's psychiatrist: As if a self-possessed international art thief would even need a nameless psychiatrist who does nothing for her client except ask him one witless question after another! "The Thomas Crown Affair" is all about chemistry, which its stars Pierce Brosnan, 47, and Rene Russo, 45, definitely share. If that's all you want or need from a 114m.summer flick, enjoy. But if you want a smidgin of suspense, a hint of real obstacles or anything remotely resembling well developed characters, go see "Election" or rent "L.A. Confidential" or "The Usual Suspects."
Is there any question in your mind that the thief and the insurance investigator will wind up in the sack? Or that their affair will cause both to question their life choices? There is not, in fact, one moment of the story that doesn't telegraph its arrival ten or twenty minutes early. Denis Leary hangs out as a none-too-brilliant detective who can't stop leering at Russo, Ben Gazzara plays a bit in an apron as Crown's attorney and Fritz Weaver sticks around slightly longer as an all-too-obvious red herring. A far more obvious red herring is played by Esther Canadas, who appears in all the theatrical trailers, but who doesn't say a word in the finished film. The only risks that the lovers take occur when they fool around in a small aircraft by taking turns as pilot or when they watch what may be a real painting by Renoir burn to a crisp. Oh, these quaint rich people. What are these two going to talk about in the ever after? Whatever the chatter, please don't make another movie about it. Both Brosnan and Russo deserve much, much better, and so, movie lovers, do we.
© 1999 - Monica Sullivan - Air Date: 8/4/99
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