Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Blu-Ray Review: Thief (1981)

Thief (1981)
Director: Michael Mann
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Starring: James Caan, Tuesday Weld, James Belushi, Robert Prosky, Willie Nelson

Plot Synopsis: Career criminal Frank (Caan) wants to call it quits, but can only do so by performing one last heist. What he doesn't know is how hard that will be after getting involved with the wrong people.

Criterion brings us Thief in a Blu/DVD combo package that showcases this gorgeous film like no other release of it ever has. Let's dig into this awesome package a bit to see what's in store.

Video Quality

I first saw this film on DVD, and that's the only way I've ever seen it, so when Criterion announced this for release I was more than excited because the DVD left a lot to be desired. Well, I'm happy to report this transfer looks fucking gorgeous! From the little details like close-up's of electronic equipment to the grand scale cityscapes of Chicago's skyscrapers, it is near flawless. There are a few soft establishing shots, but that appears to be due to the original elements and is no fault of the transfer itself. There is a light layer of grain over the whole film that is totally unobtrusive and gives Thief a nice filmic look and feel. This is a great transfer from top to bottom. 4.75/5

Special Features

This commentary has been ported over from the prior DVD release that features Mann and Caan in a fun and lively discussion of the film.

Michael Mann Interview:
A 2012 interview done by Criterion with the Director in which he reveals a few choice cuts of information that I've never heard before. HD/25 minutes.

James Caan Interview:
Another recent interview with the Thief himself. It's pretty great listening to Caan reminisce about stories from the film. He recalls a few stories in which he reveals maybe a bit too much information regarding thievery and how good he became at it. HD/10 minutes

Johannes Schmoelling of Tangerine Dream Interview:
A nice little interview recalling the development and creation of the unforgettable and mesmerizing score which pulsates throughout the film. HD/15 minutes


Criterion has put together a nice little package here with the cover featuring  James Caan as the titular Thief looking off in the distance, perhaps contemplating the choices he's made in his life, which really sums up a lot of this film. The disc art is equally great, with that awesome handwritten font illuminating as bright as the welding sparks in the film. In addition to everything already mentioned, you also get a nice booklet featuring an essay by film critic Nick James and some gorgeous artwork and photography.

Final Word

Beautiful packaging, new special features, wonderful transfer of an amazing film. Pick this shit up now!! 5/5


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