Thomas Crown = Remington Steals
To be honest it takes a brave man to try and remake a well known movie and as such you have to say that John McTiernan was brave to remake "The Thomas Crown Affair". The interesting thing is that the 1999 remake of the "The Thomas Crown Affair" is the equal of the original and rather ironically has almost the identical positives and negatives. It's stylish and has a better energy about it as well as some stunning set pieces but it is also as contrived as the original pleading with the audience to accept certain things far too easily. It's very much a case that it wants be clever and it is but in being clever it also has to skip over some of the finer details to make it work and as such when you really concentrate on what is happening "The Thomas Crown Affair" sort of falls to pieces.
Successful business man Thomas Crown (Pierce Brosnan - Dante's Peak) is a thrill seeker, a thrill seeker in every way as he stages an audacious art theft at a museum just to enjoy the danger. But when the police and insurance investigator Catherine Banning (Rene Russo - Lethal Weapon 4) start their investigations Crown gets a new form of excitement as Catherine suspects that he may have been the man behind the robbery. Determined to get her man Catherine gets up close and personal to Crown as he enjoys the danger of their cat n mouse games but as things progress it no longer becomes just a game as Catherine falls for the thrill seeking Crown.
In essence "The Thomas Crown Affair" has the same storyline as the original, bored businessman Thomas Crown dabbles in a bit of robbery not because he needs what he steals but for the thrill of it. And as such once again we have insurance investigator jumping to a conclusion that Crown is behind an audacious art theft and so tries to prove it was him. Certain things have changed, the original bank job is now an art robbery and the sexy game of chess which was a highlight of the original makes way for a sexy dance before a steam sex scene but the essence of it all is still the same.
But this version of "The Thomas Crown Affair" is superior in one very clear way and it has an energy about it. From the initial robbery, through the cat and mouse games between Crown and Banning right through to the big climax it skips along at a brilliant, snappy pace. And it means that the cleverness of it, the ingenious way that Crown goes about committing the art theft or the flirtatious game of cat n mouse between him and Banning seems so much more entertaining and sexy than in the original.
But whilst it has a better pace, is clever and just as stylish as the original "The Thomas Crown Affair" still has that one major issue and you have to go with the flow and not over analyze it. When you do try and focus on the detail you're once again left bemused how easily Banning comes to the conclusion that Thomas Crown is the man behind the art theft. And you are even more bemused by the scene where Crown puts a valuable painting in a briefcase which is far too small yet it comes out intact later on. It's this side of things that ends up spoiling the movie and whilst it skips along and has a lot going on these flaws show themselves far too easily.
Now like it was brave for McTiernan to remake such a popular movie you have to say Pierce Brosnan was a brave man to step into Steve McQueen's role as Thomas Crown. But because this version of "The Thomas Crown Affair" is sexier and in a way a more suave movie Brosnan is in fact perfectly cast and delivers that sense of charm and risk taking perfectly. And it has to be said Renne Russo does a superior job to Faye Dunaway playing the insurance investigator who this time is called Catherine Banning. Russo adds a lot of sexiness to the movie and not just because she disrobes for a couple of sex scenes but because she delivers that flirtatious nature so well. In the cat n mouse games she seems to be enjoying the flirtations as much as Crown enjoys the danger. Interestingly Faye Dunaway has a role in the remake as an unnamed shrink who Thomas Crown visits.
What this all boils down to is that the remake of "The Thomas Crown Affair" is not only a good movie but in fact the equal of the original. It manages to keep the essence of the story but sexes it up and gives it a burst of energy which was lacking in the original. It still suffer because whilst stylish and clever with some great set pieces it does require that you take certain things for granted, accepting the impossible and it is this side of things which sadly spoils things.