Director/Writer:David Mamet
Warner Bros.; R; 107 minutes
Cast:Gene Hackman, Danny DeVito, Sam Rockwell

Writer-director David Mamet is theatrically self-aware and reliably competent. His latest film, noir thriller Heist, delivers the goods with the sneaky polish of a professional thief. The greatest problem with Heist is that it enters the theaters only a few weeks after The Score left them. Both movies feature big name actors as aging criminals engaged in a risky final job.

Heist stars Gene Hackman as Joe Moore, a career thief pressured by his feisty fence (Danny DeVito) into a huge operation that involves the fence's untrustworthy nephew Jimmy Silk (Sam Rockwell) and Joe's steely wife (Rebecca Pidgeon) whom Jimmy is trying to steal away. Lines of intrigue and scents of deception go deeper than the initial setup. Mamet's sinuous story happens in the dialogue and the details, and that's where these veteran actors excel.

It's great to hear talented actors work with a solid script; a love of language lies at the aesthetic center of Mamet's work. Heist's visual elements take second place, but one rarely minds since the other components are so strong.