-MONTHLY VHS & DVD REVIEW-
copyright © 2001 - 2004 VideoVista
cast: Ryan Reynolds, Kristin Booth, Joris Jarsky, David Suchet, and Sean Sullivan
writer and director: William Phillips
90 minutes (15) 2003
widescreen ratio 1.85:1
Momentum DVD Region 2 rental
reviewed by Alasdair Stuart
Kevin, Sam and Rob are the best robbers that never committed a crime. They are players
of 'Foolproof', a game where they plan out how to carry out heists and then simulate
them. The trio are hugely smart and very, very good at what they do. Until one of their
plans is stolen, the robbery is carried out exactly how they would do it and they find
themselves being blackmailed by Leo 'The Touch' Gilette, a master thief who knows a great
plan when he sees one. If they do the job, Leo gives them back the plan; if they don't,
he gives it to the police.
Hitting the ground running with a great split screen sequence showing Kevin 'playing'
the job and what he's seeing in his head, this is great fun. Stylistically somewhere
between Mission: Impossible and
it starts out as a comedy and turns into something darker and far more complicated as
time goes by. Front and centre in all this is Kevin, played by Ryan Reynolds. A genuinely
great deadpan comic actor, Reynolds is perfect for the role. His Kevin is intelligent,
eccentric, hugely arrogant and very funny. He knows how good he is, revels in that fact
and much of the film deals with him learning the consequences of his actions. It's to
Reynolds' credit as well that he never over-eggs the performance, keeping his cards
close to his chest.
The other two-thirds of the trio are equally impressive. Kristin Booth's Sam is, in
a nice twist, the group's hothead. A personal trainer and martial artist she's the
impulsive one and responsible for one of the film's best scenes where, just for a moment,
Gilette is completely vulnerable. It's an electric moment, where the game suddenly
turns very real and she plays it with a real sense of danger. It's a credit to Booth's
performance that she can shift from sequences like this to trading quips with Reynolds,
making the pair of them a very funny double act to watch.
It's ironic then that the most impressive member of the trio is Joris Jarsky as Rob.
The techie of the group, Rob is the one completely seduced by what Leo is offering them.
It's a masterful performance, turning a likeable loser into a despicable criminal and
he plays it note-perfect. Even at his worst, you can still see the old Rob struggling
to get out and it's this conflict that gives the character and much of the second half
of the film its edge.
Ranged against them as Leo, David Suchet brings an unusual, heavyset menace to the role.
Best known in England for his long-standing role as Hercule Poirot, Suchet's Leo is an
urbane, calm man with an eye on every angle. The scenes where he draws Rob closer and
closer to the criminal life are well played and he and Reynolds spark off one another
to great effect. This is a battle of wills as much as a heist movie and it's riveting
to watch it play out.
Oddly, the only minor weak point is the script. The film takes its time changing gear
from twenty-something buddy movie to heist thriller and, at times, the change in tone
jars a little. Likewise, one character, Detective Mason is introduced in a way that
implies he'll play a far greater role than he ultimately does. However, when the heist
kicks off, the script throws twists at you thick and fast and there are some wonderful
set pieces. From a beautiful pick-pocketing sequence to Sam's talent for lip-reading
and the world's first sled-based theft, the film keeps you and the characters guessing
as to what will happen next.
Intelligent, funny and very different, Foolproof is a thriller that keeps you
laughing as well as guessing. Unfairly overlooked at the cinema, now is the perfect
time to rediscover it.