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HONEST THIEF

What to know: A bit disappointing.
KIDS FIRST QUALIFIED ENDORSEMENT
Recommended age 12-18
99 minutes
FeatureFilm
OPEN ROAD PRODUCTIONS
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HONEST THIEF cover image
Honest Thief is the "average Joe" of current film releases. It's a movie with very few characteristics that make it stand out from other action/drama. In the film, Tom Carter (Liam Neeson) tries to give up $9 million in stolen money to live an honest life with the woman he loves. But as he attempts to turn himself in, two corrupt Feds, Ramon (Anthony Ramos) and John (Jai Courtney) take advantage of the stolen money. Now he must clear his name for a murder he never committed all in the name of love.

I feel like I have watched Honest Thief many times before. Many action/drama films have the same feel to the plot, action and dialogue - and the writing here feels a bit lazy. It is as if Honest Thief cut and pasted elements from clich´┐Ż lines from classic action films and put them into scenes that were supposed to be suspenseful and dramatic. I have heard the lines "I am coming for you" in too many films to count, and the effect of using these lines too much is disappointing.

I like that Honest Thief is fast-paced and scenes don't drag out. There are "good old" car chases, people being knocked out and being swung around like ragdolls. The use of comedy is sparse and feels thrown in the movie for the sake of comedic relief. Honest Thief is serious in tone so the comedy feels awkward and out of place, especially since there is so little of it.

I can usually enjoy any kind of film for what it is, but something rubbed me the wrong way about the character of Annie (Kate Walsh), Tom's wife. Her role, even her designation as a grad student, feels instrumental only for the progression of Tom's character. Tom believes he can turn himself in, delete his past, and that Annie will stay with him even after finding he's a professional bank robber. I am disappointed in the stereotypical and outdated use of women as the motivation for everything a man does --as well as not happy with the lack of female representation here. If we use the Bechdel test for female representation and ask, "Does the film have two named female characters that talk to each other about something other than men?" Unfortunately Honest Thief fails this test.

This film has action, violence and some strong language. I am able to empathize with Ramon as he struggles about whether to go along with John and steal the money for the future or do what is morally right. Even in Tom's case, as we learn about his motivation for robbing banks, we realize that not everyone is what they seem at surface level and good people can do bad things.

I give Honest Thief 2 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 12 to 18. Honest Thief released in theatres on October 16, 2020.

Reviewed by Anokhi L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 18

see youth comments
They call him the In-and-Out-Bandit because meticulous thief Tom Carter (Liam Neeson) has stolen $9 million from small-town banks while managing to keep his identity a secret. But after he falls in love with the bubbly Annie (Kate Walsh), Tom decides to make a fresh start by coming clean about his criminal past, only to be double-crossed by two ruthless FBI agents.
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