Thief

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Michael Mann’s feature film directing debut, this rough-hewn caper drama fairly throbs with energy, thanks in large part to the inspired use of a Tangerine Dream musical score. Criminal or not, Frank (James Caan) is pretty difficult to like, but he’s a total professional, so naturally the Chicago mob wants to own him. They underestimated Frank, however, and his rage erupts stylishly in this unrated director’s cut.

514thief.box.jpgMy 1998 DVD is rife with dirt, flaws, and general mush, but thankfully Criterion has performed a gorgeous new 4K restoration. The prime beneficiary are the blacks (our thief works best under cover of darkness), which are now far richer and more alive within the 1.85:1 frame. Equally satisfying is the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1-channel remix/remaster, with clearer dialogue and an exquisite presentation of the aforementioned score. Both audio and video were approved by the Mann, who joins Caan on an archival audio commentary, in addition to new on-camera interviews. This two-disc set also includes a DVD copy of the movie, with all extras.

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