Thief (1981) – Blu-ray review

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Synopsis: Coming closer to his dream of leading a normal life, a professional safecracker agrees to do a job for the Mafia, who have other plans for him.

What’s it like? Rififi meets The Killing

Film: 10/10. Michael Mann’s theatrical directorial debut may just be his best work. Less well known than Heat but more impressive, Mann captures the duality of the city of Chicago – “normal” by day, but filled with dangerous dark spaces and brightly lit neon lights that assault the senses at night. Caan’s best leading performance. 125 mins.

Picture quality: 10/10. Arrow has used Criterion’s 4K restoration and it’s incredibly impressive. Aside from a handful of shots with source related issues (soft shots mainly) there’s an amazing level of detail on show. Contrast and colour reproduction is excellent and really makes the vivid lighting of the city stand out in the night-time sequences.

Audio quality: 10/10. The remastered audio is top notch. Dialogue is perfectly reproduced, the atmospheric effects make the city come alive and the various heist and action scenes are filled with a flurry of precise activity. Tangerine Dream’s amazing score is a character of the film itself and sounds fantastic.

Trailer: YouTube

Disc reviewed: Country: U.K., Studio: Arrow, Region: B locked

Director: Michael Mann
Starring: James Caan, Tuesday Weld, Willie Nelson, James Belushi, Robert Prosky

Pick up a copy of the U.S. release of Criterion Collection: Thief [Blu-ray] from Amazon and help support this site.

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