Veteran con artist and heist merchant Joe Moore (Hackman) is ready to retire. He's got a new life in South America just waiting for him. There's only one problem: his fence (DeVito) is blackmailing him into doing that dreaded one last job. With the police on his trail and a heist that's virtually impossible to pull off, Joe's future doesn't look too bright. After all, "Anybody can get the goods, the hard part's getting away."
Reuniting many of the team from the inferior caper movie "Get Shorty", "Heist" is a showcase of ensemble acting talent. Hackman is absolutely stunning as the aging conman who's desperate to go straight but trapped by the fact that "he can't go down there with nothing".
The supporting cast, headed by Delroy Lindo and Danny DeVito, is first-class, with Lindo finally proving to be a contender for Samuel L Jackson's crown of cool - the scene where Lindo single-handedly takes out a room of tough guys is one of the slickest action sequences in recent memory.
But actors are only as good as the script. Fortunately, David Mamet's screenplay is full of sophisticated puns and hardboiled quips ("My motherf*****'s so cool, when he goes to bed the sheep count him"), not to mention an array of double-crosses, disguises, and dramatic stand-offs.
Mamet's cerebral thriller is a joy to watch - this is easily the director's toughest, grittiest drama to date, with a noir edge that's far sharper than the Coen brothers' barbershop blades.
Professional, assured, and very slick, this is undoubtedly the best of the current crop of heist movies.