TBT: The Thomas Crown Affair (1999)


After throwing out my back last Thursday, I return from some much-needed time off here on TBT. And you know, even after only one week gone here I feel kinda rusty and couldn’t think of something for the longest time to write about. After filtering through several great suggestions on Facebook I’m here to announce those are going to surface VERY soon because the responses I got were numerous (and I haven’t seen any of them, which is a bonus). In the meantime, I’m sure some are going to be surprised to find out what I’ve chosen for 

Today’s food for thought: The Thomas Crown Affair.


Getting off on ripping off museums since: August 6, 1999


Undoubtedly, some are going to be surprised to see a lack of a certain Steve McQueen here. I know, and while we are on the subject, I may as well get this off my chest right now rather than let it loom over this review at large. I have not seen the original.

Okay, please stop throwing fruit at me.

Thank you.

Sooner rather than later, this issue is going to be resolved. I’m fairly sure I’ll fall in love with the original cast as much as I have this modern one: I mean, come on — a young Faye Dunaway, who happened to appear in this modern touch-up from John McTiernan as well. She assumed the role of Thomas Crown’s psychologist, seen at the beginning trying to assess the current emotional state of a billionaire playboy finding his interest in being able to purchase (or do) anything he so desires on the wane. And of course, then there was Steve McQueen, doing Pierce’s work in 1968. The mischief, back then, was inherent in the name alone.

I can only assume Pierce had to work for it a little bit more here, though he hardly had to break a sweat. As Thomas Crown, he cranked up the sophistication to 11 and kicked up his feet, relaxing into one of the more casual roles of his career. In the midst of his James Bond fame, Brosnan had to have relished getting to chew scenery in a lighthearted crime-caper/romance flick.

Rene Russo reprised Dunaway’s role as a sumptuous insurance investigator who had become involved in the recovery of a precious Monet painting that was lifted in a seemingly random heist at the New York Metropolitan Museum. (There arose another key difference: rather than a museum heist, the old version hinged on a situation involving a Boston bank.) Her insertion into the scene proved simultaneously an amusing foil for the authorities currently working the case — mostly for Denis Leary as a abrasive but ultimately lonely detective heading up the investigation — as well as a worthy adversary of sorts for the brilliantly evasive Thomas Crown.

Director John McTiernan’s jigsaw puzzle may not be as iconic or even half as witty as what might be accomplished in a match-up between the mighty McQueen and the gorgeous Stun-away; however there’s undeniable charm between Brosnan and Russo who tumble headlong into a passionate romance bound for an uncertain, unsafe future together. Or not?

This place is pretty much spoiler-free, so I won’t put too fine a point on that.

But here’s one I can’t avoid mentioning: The Thomas Crown Affair was a great deal of fun. Still is. Between the exotic locales, damn near tantric-levels of heavy-petting, and an unrelenting sense of freedom cultivated through the performances and fluid direction, this film had all the hallmarks of a guilty pleasure. The only knick in this production is once you’ve experienced it the first time, the magic in the trick slightly dissipates. Still, being able to predict what happens next is merely a byproduct of a film that can be watched over time and again. This deviation, this joyride, is certainly worth its weight in gold.


3-5Recommendation: The Thomas Crown Affair is a great escape for the crime-thriller lover who is not opposed to a little sappy romance here and there. It features solid performances from Brosnan and Russo, whom this reviewer would personally feel more comfortable with being insured by; as well as a sufficiently engaging mystery/adventure plot to justify an hour and forty minutes’ worth of material. This is a film that entices on more than one level. I highly recommend it to anyone a fan of either actor, though it’s just a little odd the director of things like Die Hard and Predator would say yes to something like this.

Rated: R

Running Time: 113 mins.

TBTrivia: The idea of unusual heat in the museum rendering thermal cameras useless came from McTiernan’s Predator. In that movie, McTiernan’s actual thermal cameras began to fail when the jungle temperature broke 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Photo credits: http://www.fanpop.com; http://www.movieweb.com

14 thoughts on “TBT: The Thomas Crown Affair (1999)

  1. Pingback: TBT: Chinatown (1974) | digitalshortbread

    • You are most welcome man! I’m glad to share the joy with you in this, there’s going to come a day when I see the original and possibly find it much better, but yeah — you really can’t go wrong with this pair of charming leads and this ridiculously addicting crime mystery. That heist scene at the end is really fun.


        • Very good plan. Its funny how my DVD-buying habits have changed since opening up a blog. I feel that I watch so many new releases nowadays I almost don’t need repeat viewings of things. Unless they are, of course, super great. 🙂


          • Funny you say that – I’m definitely rewatching things WAY less since starting a blog. Think I feel like I keep needing to watch new movies all the time in order to review them & that rewatching one would be a waste of time! 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m going to be honest…that title is such a turn-off. “Yo bro, lets go see the The Thomas Crown Affair tonight”. “Yo ma dawg, we gunna go see The Thomas Crown Affair”. “Hey mate, you down to watch The Thomas Crown Affair?”. “Hey, I’m watching The Thomas Crown Affair”.

    …No matter how you put it, that title kind of sucks. Glad that it turned out good considering that the director had little experience with movies of this nature! But then again, it features Brosnan so I’m sure the romance isn’t just in movie. It is also in your bedroom… #mancrush #tomandpiercesittinginatree


    • Hahahah!!!! That is one of the funniest plays on the title of a film I’ve read in awhile. But your point is quite valid. It’s such an unsexy title for a film that is as sexy as this. 😀

      I love the contents for what it’s worth though. It’s a fun little escape and I gotta give it additional credit because these aren’t my cups of tea at all typically. Lovin’ Brosnan right now, you’re right. Mancrush though? Eh. Ok. Yeah, I guess. Call it what it is. 🙂


  3. I enjoyed this one quite a bit and the chemistry between Pierce and Russo works pretty well. Speaking of Russo, aside from the Thor movies I haven’t seen her much in anything since. Good review!


    • Thanks so much man, and now that you mention it — yeah it really has been a rarity seeing the great Rene Russo in things, isn’t it? I really overlooked the fact she was in Thor, too.

      She needs more things to do.

      Liked by 1 person

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