‘The Thomas Crown Affair’ (1999): The Little But Important Details You Might Have Missed
Stuck at home? So is ScreenCrush’s Matt Singer — which is why he’s watching things streaming on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Disney+, YouTube, Criterion, Tubi, and elsewhere, and then writing about what he finds. If you want to suggest something for him to watch and write about, find him on Twitter. Previous installments of this column can be found here.
The Thomas Crown Affair (1999)
Director: John McTiernan
Writers: Alan Trustman Leslie Dixon, Kurt Wimmer
Stars: Pierce Brosnan, Rene Russo, Denis Leary
Box Office Total: $124 million
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 70 percent
Currently Streaming On: HBO Go and HBO Now
Suggested By: @Zdiddy999
Why I Watched It: Technically, Mr. Zdiddy wanted the original Thomas Crown Affair starring Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway from 1968. However, that version is not currently streaming. The remake, from 1999 with Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo is available. So I decided to go with that version, which I haven’t seen since its original release more than (gulp) 20 years ago. I hope Zdiddy will accept the substitution.
The newer Thomas Crown Affair is a better choice for the present moment because it bears some small similarities to a real-world art heist that took place last month. Thieves crept into the Singer Laren museum in the Netherlands and snatched a van Gogh painting worth millions of dollars. They didn’t break in with guns; like Pierce Brosnan’s Thomas Crown they were sneaky and clever. (The Dutch crooks had the advantage of a coronavirus pandemic shutting down the entire facility.)
An Esquire piece on the Singer Laren robbery and its potential aftermath discusses a few other similar crimes, including one where a man snatched a rare Dali off the wall of a New York museum, placed it in a shopping bag, and walked out with it, only to later mail it back to the rightful owners. When he was finally caught (he left a fingerprint on the mailer) he said “he looked around the gallery and realized that he could. It was a pure thrill seeking exercise.” It’s practically a second remake of Thomas Crown Affair. Here are some interesting elements of this handsome and intelligent thriller.
Gallery — Little Details in Starship Troopers You Might Have Missed: