Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 33
  2. Negative: 2 out of 33

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Critic Reviews

  1. Mamet loves two things: scams and dialogue. This movie is rich with both.
  2. The thinking person's caper flick, with its endlessly clever plotting revealing character under the utmost pressure.
  3. Heist is a pleasure to watch, and the greatest pleasure is to watch Mr. Lindo and Mr. Hackman steal it.
  4. Mamet doesn't just give us an enthralling heist flick, he makes the language something to savor. You're biting your nails with your ears peeled.
  5. 90
    Mamet -- crafts tangy, well-seasoned dialogue that a good cast can feast on. And this cast is prime.
  6. 88
    The kind of caper movie that was made before special effects replaced wit, construction and intelligence. This movie is made out of fresh ingredients, not cake mix. Despite the twists of its plot, it is about its characters.
  7. Chicago Tribune
    Reviewed by: Michael Wilmington
    Mamet takes exactly those qualities that we most prize in genre movies -- characters, cleverness and high style -- and refines them to a high shine.
  8. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    With an actor as great as Gene Hackman in the lead, a lot of scenes even breathe.
  9. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    An exciting caper, though sometimes a trying one, with great dollops of self-parodying dialogue that will test your loyalty to Mr. Mamet's way with words.
  10. 78
    It's 99 and 44/100% pure Mamet all the way.
  11. 75
    A muscular, endlessly twisty homage to film noir capers like "The Asphalt Jungle."
  12. The ultimate challenge of making a first-rate caper movie is dishing up often-used ingredients with enough novel twists to make them seem familiar and fresh at the same time. Mamet soars over the hurdles with energy and imagination to spare.
  13. Boston Globe
    Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    Not only reminds us that there's a little larceny in all of us, it reminds us how much fun it can be to commune with our inner thieves.
  14. If it's not up to the cups-and-balls elegance of previous Mamet movies like ''The Spanish Prisoner'' and ''House of Games,'' if it piles on more psychological fake-outs than is safe in a setup this size -- well, at least it's got that talk, that language, that thing Mamet does that is at this point as identifiable as the cadences of the Bard.
  15. Heist is a neat, bouncy, minor-key crime procedural that shakes no rafters. Glorious, freestanding Mametisms are dropped into it like beef hunks into clear soup.
  16. More entertaining than "The Spanish Prisoner" -- it also turns out to be more conventional and predictable.
  17. The New Yorker
    Reviewed by: David Denby
    Hackman works with a joyous authority that seems to come out of the experience of the character he's playing. He liberates David Mamet from David Mamet. [12 Nov 2001, p. 139]
  18. Hackman's in it a lot, and he is, as almost always, great fun.
  19. 63
    Carries a whiff of disappointment: There's little here Mamet hasn't done before, and done better.
  20. While not nearly as elaborate as either film, Heist plays like a combination of "The Sting" and "Mission: Impossible."
  21. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Passable but never exciting, Heist is on a level with those minor Burt Lancaster action pics the actor's name helped bankroll in the '70s.
  22. Baltimore Sun
    Reviewed by: Michael Sragow
    As a movie, Heist is merely an amiable time-killer. But it presents a terrific argument for federalizing airport security.
  23. Solidly entertaining and surprisingly free of the Mamet-isms that can suck the life right out of the most tightly crafted story.
  24. Reviewed by: Rich Cline
    With yet another snappy script and a fiendishly clever story, Mamet leads us through this labyrinthine film with skill and wit. It's nothing terribly original, but it is a lot of fun.
  25. You've already seen this movie, right? Just a few months ago. It was called "The Score."
  26. Even a mediocre David Mamet movie is still a David Mamet movie. That means there are lines to savor, partly because the lines are so good, partly because they are so Mamet.
  27. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    The result is a well-tooled machine chugging coldly along a twisting road to nowhere.
  28. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    While staccato dialogue and edgy confrontations have always been the wordsmith's forte, the precision-tooled mechanics of an elaborate crime caper have not, and the physical direction here could use some muscle.
  29. Charlotte Observer
    Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    A typical shallow caper film. Just assume the truth is the exact opposite of what's happening.
  30. 50
    Can he do the thing? Well, yes and no. He -- Mamet, David, celebrated celebrity playwright and less-certain maker of movies -- can do some of the things, like assemble a cast sleek as a cat.
  31. Mamet is so in love with the con that he's conned himself.
  32. 30
    There's something offensive about how Mamet continues to win praise as a serious filmmaker with such a joyless picture, a picture that -- intentionally -- gives the audience so little.
  33. With a movie like this, there's no risk of spoiling the ending, because the entire plot is merely a formality trudging toward a foregone conclusion. The viewer's biggest challenge is to survive fits of yawning so violent they could disrupt ornithic migratory patterns.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 138 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 18
  2. Negative: 9 out of 18
  1. TeeK
    Jan 21, 2008
    Best heist movie I have seen, though the pleasure is hidden in the details and the many twists and turns the plot takes. Heist rewards really Best heist movie I have seen, though the pleasure is hidden in the details and the many twists and turns the plot takes. Heist rewards really only those viewers who pay attention, as if Mamet made a nice movie for the casual watcher and an excellent one for the detail-obsessed. Point in case (attention -here comes a spoiler): when the gold bars get molten into boat railings, the railings are solid, not hollow. At the end, when Hackman lets his wife and her lover steal the gold from him, they entices them to take the wrong ones - hollow tubes. This detail is typical for the whole movie. Overlooking such finesse lets a viewer underestimate and underrate Heist grossly. Full Review »