The Thomas Crown Affair (1999 USA)

This is really a love story for anyone who imagines being whisked away from the mundane into places that you’ve only read or heard about in glossy magazines. It’s a film for any person out there who’d like to have the freedom to do what they want and damn the consequences. Well, either that or have enough money to do anything, then disappear. The Thomas Crown Affair is a world where time means nothing, and money is just, well, not an issue. Its only numbers! This is my kind of motion picture. I feel it was made just for me. I probably would have sold my grandmother for the price of an admission ticket. Its that yummy & delicious.

That makes me sound like a real classy guy and I am. I’ll admit to prefering a remake over an original and that is what we are dealing with here. The 1968 flick was, and still is, reasonable entertainment. But it had some heavy things dragging it down. The robbery scene was way too slow and the split screen technique irritated. Faye Dunaway wasn’t sexy enough either. Whereas Rene Russo is simply stunning, and I don’t mean for her looks or her lingering topless shots. (OK, I do…but you know what I mean) I thought she made this film with some very believable acting while providing a fantastic chemistry with Pierce Brosnan. The setting is transferred from Boston to New York, and the millionaire tycoon Thomas Crown is British rather than American. The most significant change is that the robbery which Crown organizes is not of money from a bank, but rather of a priceless Monet painting from an art gallery.

As in the original, he is pursued by an attractive female insurance company investigator with whom he becomes romantically and sexually entangled. As in the original, the trappings of Crown’s millionaire lifestyle are much on display- his expensive cars, his exclusive New York residence (even more luxurious than was Steve McQueen’s), his private glider, his yacht. (In this version Crown is a yachtsman rather than a polo player, although he is still a golfer). Even the theme song “The Windmills of Your Mind” comes in at the end and Faye Dunaway makes a cameo appearance as Crown’s psycho-analyst. As for Brosnan’s performance, he is not very likeable unfortunately. He is too smarmy and smug. This is where it is very tough to improve upon a role originally played by the ever likeable Steve McQueen. Brosnan doesn’t quite have the innocent masculine appeal of his predecessor, but that’s a small quibble.

If you can drag you’re eyes away from the rock hard nipples above and allow me to finish…its just so warm and lovely to see a tightly worked thriller with no-one under thirty in it. Life does begin at 40! The climax is perfectly cool and clever and it is refreshing that the film never falls into big action set pieces to win over the audience – instead keeping it glossy and slick throughout. It is quite something to find a thriller of sorts that is for grown ups and not teenage boys who NEED something to blow up every so often. This is not James Bond.

The plot here is robust enough to meet the viewer’s needs but is a little too slick to be examined too closely. But take this as it is – slick adult popcorn seller – and you’ll enjoy it. Director John McTiernan adopts an equally slick, relaxed tone, complemented well by a jazzy score by the legendary Bill Conti. As long as Brosnan’s persona–which seems more akin to someone running for student body president, someone who would never dream of getting into the cookie jar without permission–doesn’t put you off, you’ll enjoy it…

Unless you have a thing about commercials soiling a film’s integrity. I have to add that Rene Russo drinks a can of Pepsi One in the middle of an important scene. The One is facing the camera and she drinks the whole thing. This goes on for about 30 seconds. I’ve seen some obvious advertising on screen before but not like this. “What a joke!” drifted through my mind. I found it hard not to laugh at the love-making scene on the marble staircase too. Talk about cold and uncomfortable. And pretentious. If there is a moral to this modern fairy tale its ‘you can have your cake and eat it too.’ That could be the motto of many a moist woman!



  1. That Pepsi One scene sounds hilarious! I haven’t seen this flick yet but I’ll definitely be adding it to my to-watch list. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Enjoy enjoy enjoy! 🙂


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