Starring: Steve McQueen, Faye Dunaway, Paul Burke
Director: Norman Jewison
Running Time: 102 mins
The Thomas Crown Affair is an American film about a suave bank executive who pulls off a major bank heist, however he finds himself up against a seductive investigator who proves a chink in his armour.
The ’60s don’t get any more ’60s than this film. Oozing the cool, slick and suave persona that makes the decade so legendary, The Thomas Crown Affair is filled to the brim with style and effortless charisma across the board, from its chic visuals to its classy performances. When it comes to the story, however, things aren’t quite as sleek, and although it has all the hallmarks of a great crime drama, The Thomas Crown Affair never really manages to pull its best ideas together to make a really entertaining movie.
Let’s start off on the bright side, though, with just how cool this movie is. From beginning to end, the film is set to a brilliantly slick ’60s soundtrack, all the while made even more stylish with striking cinematography, using a lot of split screens and cut frames throughout as it brings the many layers and complex relationships of its story to light in eye-popping visual form.
Away from that, you have the two lead turns from Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway. Now, I can’t say that either of their performances are the best that they’ve ever given, and don’t perfectly fit either of their brilliant acting styles, but the confidence and charisma that the pair naturally possess, as well as the electric chemistry that comes about when they’re together, makes them effortlessly likable throughout, and a major part of the movie’s slick identity.
So, all in all, you have a film that’s absolutely gorgeous to look at, with slick post-modern styling bolstered by elegant cinematography, as well as a toe-tapping soundtrack and two effortlessly charismatic performances. What’s more to like?
Well, while the movie does have all of that cool persona and suave class, it never really manages to hit home with a great story at the same time. The foundations are there, and the premise is perfectly engaging, as relationships become complicated as people on different sides of a crime and investigation find themselves drawn together, but it’s all overshadowed by the stylishness of the presentation.
In comparison to the 1999 remake, which is a much more stylistically grounded depiction of the story (albeit nowhere near as classy), this original is just a little bit too much style over substance, and while the hallmarks of a good story are there, they’re often frustrated or obstructed by the super-sleek atmosphere, and it’s difficult to really get into the grit and drama of the story at hand as the remake was able to allow you.
Overall, then, I did like The Thomas Crown Affair, but principally because of its bold and striking stylishness throughout. With effortlessly cool visuals, a great soundtrack, and classy (albeit not perfect) performances from Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway, the movie is an undeniably suave one, but without the real depth and story development beyond that to prove reallly impressive, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.0.