×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Big Heist

A decently entertaining Mob movie about a famous burglary, A&E's "The Big Heist" covers much of the same ground as Martin Scorsese's "GoodFellas," but from a wholly different perspective and with a wholly different tone.

With:
Jimmy Burke - Donald Sutherland Richard Woods - John Heard Frankie Burke - Jamie Harris Maria - Janet Kidder Henry Hill - Nick Sandow Louis the Whale - Michael P. Moran Marty Krugman - Joe Pingue Stax Edwards - Bo Rucker Tommy DeSimone - Rocco Sisto Angelo Sepe - Robert Morelli Paolo Falcone - Joe Maruzzo Paulie Vario - Gino Marrocco Paul Castellano - Sam Coppola John Gotti - Steven Randazzo

A decently entertaining Mob movie about a famous burglary, A&E’s “The Big Heist” covers much of the same ground as Martin Scorsese’s “GoodFellas,” but from a wholly different perspective and with a wholly different tone. Cable pic doesn’t benefit from much comparison with that memorable feature, but it does deliver a lightweight, well-paced, compelling story with a modicum of style and an appealing performance by Donald Sutherland.

Sutherland plays small-time mobster Jimmy Burke, and the film begins with his release from prison in the mid-’70s. A well-mannered Irishman schooled in old-style mob loyalty, Burke is devoted to his gang of dimwitted followers, including the now-famous turncoat Henry Hill (Nick Sandow). When Burke discovers his son Frankie (Jamie Harris) hasn’t paid back his debt to the Gambino family, he leads his motley crew in what remains the largest cash robbery in history, the 1978 Lufthansa heist, which netted $8 million.

Teleplay by Jere Cunningham and Gary Hoffman, who also exec produced, puts the emphasis on Jimmy’s relationship with his son, who craves his father’s approval and can find it only in becoming a crook, and with cop Richard Woods (John Heard), a composite figure who is given a complex history with Burke and doggedly seeks to solve the crime and send his nemesis back to prison. As he gets closer to the truth, the Gambinos begin to demand that Burke kill his own crew members.

Despite inclusion of mob figures John Gotti and Paul Castellano, and even as the pic gets violent, this story remains pretty lighthearted. Director Robert Markowitz and cinematographer Rudolf Blahacek use some freeze-frame imagery and stylish transitions, adding to the sprightly genre sensibility.

Sutherland manages to make the lead character likable, catching the right semi-comic tone without sacrificing basic believability. The work certainly could be criticized for taking death a bit lightly, given that this is a true tale. It’s not especially memorable, and the story’s been told better, but this is a solid telepic nonetheless.

The Big Heist

A&E; Sun., June 10; 9 p.m.

Production: Filmed in Toronto by Alliance Atlantis in association with Gary Hoffman Prods. Executive producer, Gary Hoffman; producers, Mark Winemaker, Robert Markowitz; director, Markowitz; writers, Jere Cunningham, Hoffman, based on the book "The Heist" by Ernest Volkman and John Cummings.

Crew: Camera, Rudolf Blahacek; production design, Taavo Soodor; costumes, Gersha Phillips; editor, David Beatty; music, Lou Pomanti; casting, Diane Kerbel (Canada), Lou DiGiaimo. Running time: 2 HOURS.

Cast: Jimmy Burke - Donald Sutherland Richard Woods - John Heard Frankie Burke - Jamie Harris Maria - Janet Kidder Henry Hill - Nick Sandow Louis the Whale - Michael P. Moran Marty Krugman - Joe Pingue Stax Edwards - Bo Rucker Tommy DeSimone - Rocco Sisto Angelo Sepe - Robert Morelli Paolo Falcone - Joe Maruzzo Paulie Vario - Gino Marrocco Paul Castellano - Sam Coppola John Gotti - Steven RandazzoWith: Craig Eldridge, Hamish McEwan, Philip Williams, Scott Wickware, Elizabeth Brown, Ian Alden, Earl McLean Jr., Rory O'Shea, Karen Woolridge, Matthew MacFadzean, Bella Boyana Balta.

More TV

  • GOTHAM: L-R: Guest star Cameron Monaghan

    TV News Roundup: Fox Drops 'Gotham' Final Season Trailer (Watch)

    In today’s TV news roundup, Fox released a new trailer for an upcoming episode of “Gotham” and Disney has announced the cast for its upcoming “High School Musical” series.  FIRST LOOKS Showtime released a new trailer and the official poster for the upcoming fourth season of “Billions,” premiering March 17 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. In [...]

  • Chris Rock

    Chris Rock to Direct Kenan Thompson Comedy Pilot at NBC

    Chris Rock has come onboard to direct the NBC single-cam comedy pilot “Saving Kenan,” Variety has learned. Rock will also executive produce the pilot, which stars “SNL” mainstay Kenan Thompson. Thompson will play a newly widowed dad determined to be everything for his kids while begrudgingly letting his persistent father-in-law become more involved in their lives [...]

  • Peak TV Saturation TV Placeholder

    Apollo Global Management Buys Majority Stake in Cox TV Stations

    Private equity giant Apollo Global Management has cut a deal with Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises to buy a majority stake in Cox’s 13 TV stations as well as three newspapers and a handful of radio stations in Ohio. Apollo has been in the hunt for broadcast TV stations for some time. Cox’s station group, which includes [...]

  • Ken Jeong TV Take Podcast

    Listen: Ken Jeong on His Return to Stand-Up and New Netflix Special

    Welcome to “TV Take,” Variety’s television podcast. In this week’s episode, Variety’s executive editor of TV, Daniel Holloway, talks with Ken Jeong about his Netflix comedy special, “Ken Jeong: You Complete Me, Ho,” and being a judge on Fox’s “The Masked Singer.“ Jeong started working on his new standup act after ABC canceled his show “Dr. [...]

  • "Brother" -- Episode 201-- Pictured (l-r):

    CBS Interactive's Marc DeBevoise on Streaming Boom, Content Strategy, and Apple

    Not everyone wants or needs to be Netflix to succeed in the streaming space. And not everyone sees Apple’s enigmatic new service as a threat. Even as rival streaming services offer gobs of content, CBS Interactive’s president and COO Marc DeBevoise sees the company’s targeted original programming strategy continuing to attract viewers to its All [...]

  • Ken Jeong to Star in CBS

    Ken Jeong to Star in CBS Comedy Pilot From 'Crazy Rich Asians' Author Kevin Kwan

    A “Crazy Rich Asians” reunion is happening at CBS. Ken Jeong has been cast in a lead role in the multi-camera comedy pilot “The Emperor of Malibu,” which is being co-written and executive produced by “Crazy Rich Asians” author Kevin Kwan. In the series, Auggie, the son of a Chinese tech billionaire, announces his engagement [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content