Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Heist Week: Our Cinematic Heist Team

Whoever came up with the phrase “crime does not pay” clearly did not work with the right individuals. If there is one thing that heist films have taught us it is that choosing the right team of criminals is often more important than the items you are stealing. If the heist goes wrong, and it usually does, we want to ensure that we can cover our tracks. Keeping this in mind, here is what our cinematic heist team would comprise of.

The Leader: Dalton Russell (Clive Owen), Inside Man
There were a lot of big names who could lead this team, but we are going to go with Russell. Not only does he display calmness under pressure, but he leads by example through his willingness to stay in a cramp spaces for a weeks at a time.

The Right-hand man: Jimmy Dell (Steve Martin), The Spanish Prisoner
It is always good to have a con-artist on the team. Dell sees all the angles and can keep the leader abreast on anyone trying to pull a fast one over on the team. This comes in handy when dealing with “The Distraction”.

The Inside Man: Harold “Mr. Green” Longman (Martin Balsam), The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
His intricate knowledge of the public transit system makes Longman a solid addition to the team. If we need an alternate getaway, or decide to hold commuters hostage for ransom money, Longman’s skills will come in handy.

The Distraction/Decoy: Wanda Gershwitz (Jamie Lee Curtis), A Fish Called Wanda
The guards need to be lured away from their station and an attractive person usually does the trick. Not only does Wanda Gershwitz have a strange effect on the men around her but her tendencies to double-cross everyone is reason enough to keep her as far away from the money as possible.

The Muscle: Don Logan (Ben Kingsley), Sexy Beast
Every team needs someone who is willing to get their hands dirty if the time comes. Don may seem like an odd choice based on his stature, but what he lacks in size he makes up in his sheer level of craziness. He is a firecracker who is constantly lighting his own fuse.

The Safecracker: Frank, Thief
Let’s face it, Hudson Hawk is just too flashy, especially with all the singing he does. We need someone who can crack open a safe quickly without drawing too much attention. Plus, Frank is a car salesman by day so he can provide us with the getaway vehicles. Which brings us to…

The Drivers: Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), Fast Five and Handsome Rob (Jason Statham), The Italian Job
A common mistake that criminals make is only having one getaway driver. We are all about divide and conquer. Two drivers mean two cars, two cars mean our odds of escaping increase.

The Boss (aka The Bank): Keyser Söze (Kevin Spacey), The Usual Suspects
At the end of the day there is always someone at the top that the team as to answer to. The person that not only pays for their travel expenses but decides what the team will steal and who it will be sold to. Considering that even the devil himself is afraid of Keyser Söze, we have no choice but to work for him or face the consequences.

Who would make up your cinematic heist team? Let us know in the comments section.


  1. brilliant. i'm always partial to the decoy being a guy in drag just for fun. willem dafoe in boondock saints or jeff bridges in thunderbolt and lightfoot perhaps?

  2. Hmm, I think Sean Connery in the Great Train Robbery should be the leader. Cool under fire and ruthless when necessary.

  3. No no no! Martin Balsam would sneeze and give the game away! On such details are fortunes lost.

    I love this article. A fun read indeed, about my favourite genre.

  4. I'm not sure I want team up with Keyser Soze...he'd probably just murder us after we pulled off the job and keep the loot for himself!

  5. @Toby – A guy in drag could also work as a decoy. You would an actor who could be somewhat convincing in drag though (e.g. John Leguizamo in To Wong Foo Thanks For Everything Julie Newmar).

    @Andrew – The Great Train Robbery is a film I will have to add to my must see list. Plus I am always up for a good Connery fix every.

    @Colin – True but, knowing Balsam, there is a good chance he would most likely be the last person alive with the money. Of course Keyser Soze will most likely bump off Balsam before he even gets a chance to count the money.

    @Tom – Keyser Soze is a very persuasive individual that you just cannot say no too. He will orchestrate things in a fashion where you have no other choice but to work for him.

  6. Spot on for The Drivers. That getaway would be one crazy trip.


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