For this month’s first review for Genre Grandeur – Heist Films, here’s a review of American Heist (2014) by Darren of Movie Reviews 101
Thanks again to Drew of Drew’s Movie Reviews. for choosing this month’s genre.
Due to the Jewish holiday of Passover which falls out this year at the end of April, I will be mostly unavailable for a week, so I decided to postpone GG until May.
May’s Genre has been chosen by Damien of Riley Central. We will be reviewing our favorite Adventure Movies.
Please get me your submissions by the 25th of May by sending them to firstname.lastname@example.org Try to think out of the box! Great choice Damien!
Let’s see what Darren thought of this movie:
American Heist (2014)
Director: Sarik Andreasyan
Writer: Raul Inglis (Screenplay)
Starring: Jordana Brewster, Hayden Christensen, Adrien Brody, Laura Cayouette, Aaron V Williamson, Tory Kittles, Divine Prince Ty Emmecca, Akon
Plot: James owes his life to his older brother, Frankie after taking the rap for a crime they committed together. While Frankie served time, James worked to turn his life around, got a steady job and began courting his former girlfriend Emily. Now, Frankie is released and back on the streets with no money and no place to go.
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Gritty Emotional Heist Film
Story: American Heist starts with James (Christensen) waiting before starting to look for someone then an explosion surprises him bring us back a day in time where we follow James going about his everyday life. James has a brother Frankie (Brody) fresh out of prison being picked up by his criminal connection Sugar (Akon) who keeps him happy with drinks, drugs and girls on his first night out before meeting the boss Ray (Kittles).
James has turned his life around where he now works on the straight life working as a mechanic, he sees an old flame Emily (Brewster) back in town where James sees his life moving in the right direction. Frankie turns up to see his brother’s life after ten years locked away. Frankie arranges to meet for drinks with James which leads to him discussion a new job opportunity which leads us back to the opening scene where James gets tricked into a job as Frankie is trying to repay his debts.
Ray has assembled a team to pull off an elaborate bank robbery which will finally see Frankie pay back the debts he owes because James has the skills to get part of the plan done.
American Heist is a story that does seem to follow the traditional idea of a recently released from prison criminal goes straight back into the criminal world even if it isn’t fully his desire. We also see how the man thinking he has escaped from the criminal world gets dragged back in for one more job. This side of the story has been done before but is does really push the two brothers on an emotional level. When it comes to the actual heist it does become the secondary story behind the brothers relationship with the preparation being a quick flash scene and like most heist films go completely wrong. The story will have to go down as a solid entry into the genre but won’t be a film climbing into anyone’s best. (7/10)
Hayden Christensen: James is the former criminal who has turned his life around with a clean cut job where he is trying to get his own business, his life may not be perfect but he is happy that everything is all legal now. When his brothers released from prison he ends up caught up trying to pay off Frankie’s debts forced into working for criminal Ray. Hayden continues to try and recover from the criticism he got for Star Wars with another anti pretty boy film where he tries to play tough but doesn’t quite pull it off. (6/10)
Adrien Brody: Frankie is James’ brother who fresh out of prisoner does straight back into his criminal underworld where criminal boss Ray wants both Frankie and James to work for him. Frankie went through a lot in prison and always stood up for his brothers, as well as helping him become the man he is now. Adrien gives a performance you would expect from an Oscar winner, he does show his skills but sometimes feels like he is overacting to the situations. (7/10)
Jordana Brewster: Emily is the old flame who comes back into James’ life. Emily just so happens to be a dispatch caller for the police which could make the bank job all that much harder as Emily and James start rekindling their romance. Jordana does a good job but really doesn’t get enough screen time for the romantic angle in the story. (6/10)
Akon: Sugar is the second in command to Ray who gets the dirty jobs done when other people won’t get involved. Akon does make a good supporting actor never trying to over act like many musicians do when they enter the acting world. (7/10)
Tory Kittles: Ray is the criminal who helped Frankie in prison leaving him being owed a favour from Frankie when he finally gets out. Ray makes Frankie bring James back into the criminal world to take part in an elaborate heist. Tory makes for a good emotionless tough criminal who believes in every word he is saying. (7/10)
Support Cast: American Heist doesn’t really have many more characters involved in the story, we have the generic characters trying to chase down the criminals and the members of the group trying to pull off the heist.
Director Review: Sarik Andreasyan – Sarik gives us a solid heist film that really does focus on the relationship between the two brothers who have gone down different paths but must work together one last time. (7/10)
Action: American Heist keeps the action in a realistic level apart from one moment, making each feel like it could be a real heist and aftermath. (7/10)
Drama: American Heist creates a dysfunctional relationship between the two brothers which helps show just how far they would go for each other. (7/10)
Settings: American Heist keeps the settings in location where you would imagine the characters would want to turn to crime to end all the suffering they are going through. (8/10)
Suggestion: American Heist is one to try, I do think if you are a fan of the genre you will enjoy but there is only so much you can do with a heist film without fully copying anything else. (Try It)
Best Part: I really liked how the film ended, but can’t give it away.
Worst Part: How James gets pulled into the criminal world again.
Action Scene Of The Film: Ray’s escape attempt.
Believability: The heist feels like it could be how a real one would end, but the relationship side mixed with the heist not so. (4/10)
Chances of Tears: No (0/10)
Chances of Sequel: No
Post Credits Scene: No
Similar Too: Kill Point (TV Show)
Oscar Chances: None
Budget: $10 Million
Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes
Overall: American Heist will go down as an emotionally gritty heist film about two brothers.