In good hands again at long last, the cerebral action thriller has never looked better.


A Illusion review by Joan Ellis.

Entrapment is a classy, lighthearted adventure that invites us to follow a pair of thieves on a beautifully photographed crime tour of Scotland, London, and Kuala Lumpur. In the leading roles, Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones wear their sophistication with an ease that allows the story to assume the grand escapist feel created by Cary Grant and Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief.

Imagine this: few four-letter words, no sex, no deaths, no violence-can this be 1999? An insistent musical score generates suspense for an old-fashioned crime caper that brings broad smiles of appreciation to our faces. We've dropped back a few decades to watch a bit of irresistible hokum. It's a James Bond plot with the real James Bond on hand to let us know that a consummate con man never loses his touch.

On the 16th day before the Millennium, insurance investigator Virginia "Gin" Baker (Ms. Zeta-Jones) goes under deep cover to catch legendary art thief Robert "Mac" Macdougal (Sean Connery). In an atmosphere laced with the probability of betrayal and capture, they become allies-or do they? The rest is pure exhilaration, a Bondian ride that wraps the old trade of art theft in an arsenal of the latest technological tools. While the movie sets up all kinds of spectacular obstacles, Gin dangles, dives, and swims through plans A, B, and C as they spring from the fertile mind of her mentor. Or is it the other way around?

Mr. Connery and Ms. Zeta-Jones accomplish something wonderful here: the return of mystery and romance to the screen in an era that celebrates the rabid competition among filmmakers to outdo each other with raw sex and foul language. When Mac gently pulls a sheet up over the shoulder of a naked and sleeping Gin, the gesture makes explicit screen sex look contrived and empty. When he walks away from making love with an explanation that suggests his own physical limitations, they are freed for an affair of the spirit. And when he calls out, "If you don't feel alive now, you never will," we envy their exhilaration.

The fact that the essence of each of them is fueled by the game of theft only makes it more fun. They steal not for money, but to win, to set the record. The prizes here are a Rembrandt, an ancient Chinese mask, and some billion-dollar computer codes. In pursuit of these treasures, two polished intellects show us that beating the odds is the thrill of life. Stealing beauty is their challenge. Risk is their passion.

Mr. Connery can play a rogue at any age, and Ms. Zeta-Jones matches him in wits and physical dexterity. In fact, the old thief relies willingly and with gratitude on the skills of his younger partner. It's a great sight: two adventurers in search of the perfect heist. In good hands again at long last, the cerebral action thriller has never looked better.

Film Critic : JOAN ELLIS
Word Count : 498
Studio : 20th Century Fox
Rating : PG-13
Running time : 1h45m

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