The Maiden Heist - DVD cover
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October 28, 2009
Review - " Maiden Heist "  -  (on DVD) By Roland Hansen
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Marcia gay Harden & Christopher Walken in Maiden Heist
Morgan Freeman & William H Macy in Maiden Heist
The Maiden Heist
Directed By: Peter Hewitt
Starring: Christopher Walken, Morgan Freeman, William H Macy,
Marica Gay Harden

You would think that a comedy with four Oscar-nominated or
Oscar-winning actors would have a high enough profile to make it
into theaters, and yet The Maiden Heist, starring Christopher
Walken, Morgan Freeman, William H. Macy and Marcia Gay Harden
went straight to DVD. To be sure, there were specific business
problems challenging its distributor, the Yari Film Group, but The
Maiden Heist also faced the problems of the modern movie
business in general, where studios seem averse to releasing any
entertaining film that doesn't feature an immediately marketable
hook like talking robots, talking animals or talking robot animals. If
The Maiden Heist's cast were in a grim, grueling drama, that movie
would probably make it into theaters for Oscar time, since they're in
a light, bright and breezy caper comedy, and have an average age
well above the industry's target demographic, someone somewhere
calculated the cost of a release to theaters against the potential
profits and made the call to put it on the silver disc of DVD as
opposed to the silver screen of the theater.

And I'm not going to say that The Maiden Heist would have made
buckets of cash if it played theaters, or rail against the way the
movie business seems to be running these days, but I will say that
The Maiden Heist works remarkably well on DVD, where it plays
slick and slight and funny. Walken plays a security guard at a
Boston museum, who loses himself for hours in one of the gallery's classic 19th-century paintings, a portrait of a lady by the
sea. One day, though, he's told that to make room for more modern pieces, the painting of the maiden is bound for
Copenhagen. This, to Walken is unacceptable, it turns out it's also unacceptable to Morgan Freeman's guard, an amateur
artist who's fascinated by a painting full of cats, and William H. Macy, who's grown a little too attached to a bronze nude
statue that's bound for Denmark as well.

Director Peter Hewitt - who's given us such
unimpressive films as Zoom: Academy for
Superheroes and Garfield - makes one very
smart decision with The Maiden Heist, which is
a simple and easy call: He gets out of the way of
his stars. Walken has a wiggy-but-warm mix of
intensity and sympathy here that mixes his weirder
performances with his cheerier ones. Freeman
uses his velvet purr of a voice to maximum effect,
Macy's wiry, nervy statuary enthusiast ex-Marine
has a nice frantic charm. And as the threesome
decide that, well, they're just going to steal the
art and replace it with duplicates so they can
appreciate the pieces they love at a closer distance
than that between Boston and Copenhagen. And,
really, who better to rob the museum than the men
charged with preventing that? Along the way,
Walken also realizes that his relationship with his
wife, Harden, is different - and better - than
he thinks it is, one passion renewing another.
The Maiden Heist isn't a top-ten heist comedy,
and it's barely drop compared to the con capers
of the Ocean's films, but it does have four
professionals doing what they do remarkably
well in a fun, smoothly-made bit of  
entertainment. Shot in Boston it was enjoyable
to see familiar buildings and landmarks. Yes,
The Maiden Heist had trouble making it to movie
theaters, but that says more about a distributor
and the new landscape of distribution than it
does about the movie itself, the light laughs and
a smattering of suspense in The Maiden Heist
may be delivered on DVD, but they still deliver.