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<Movie Details
21 November 2013 by Tim Evans

It's quite a leap from the cosily feelgood Olympic celebration of all things British to the gobsmacking sight of Vincent Cassel with half his head sheared off by a bullet.

Yet that's the trip director Danny Boyle has made with this darkly convoluted thriller. As he says: "It was lovely to be able to work at night on our evil cousin of the Olympic opening ceremony."

A slightly ill-at-ease James McAvoy plays Simon, a fine art auctioneer with a gambling problem that is solved overnight when he agrees to be inside man for cultured tea-leaf Franck's (Cassel) raid on his auction house.

The heist - beautifully orchestrated and scored by Boyle in a sort of condensed Thomas Crown Affair style - goes well...until Cassel whacks him over the head as the gang is frantically extricating itself from the crime scene.

Recovering consciousness, Simon realises he can't remember where he stashed the priceless object of the  robbery - a Goya - which is bad news for Franck, very bad news for Simon, and appalling news for his fingernails.

When tortured digits fail to reveal the wherabouts of the masterpiece, Franck hits on the idea of using a hypnotherapist - Elizabeth (Dawson) - to recover Simon's memory of what happened. However, what he recalls would probably have been best left forgotten.

This is a slick caper driven by a pounding soundtrack (Boyle even finds room for flavour of the month David Bowie), top cinematography (London out-glams Manhattan) and a top-notch cast.