There’s little more to “The Gentleman Bandit” than the novelty of ex-thief Charlie Mattera playing himself (though, curiously, with a change of character name) in this account of how a petty hood is dressed up by a veteran con man to make some big scores. Despite its purported veracity, Mattera’s script (co-written with Mark Petracca) plays implausibly on screen, especially since helmer-lenser Jordan Alan has no feel for authentic texture or volatility within the crime genre. Burdened by excessive dissolves and woozy pacing, pic’s theatrical window appears narrow, with a slightly better opening in ancillary.
An eight-minute prologue establishes Nick (Mattera) and thief partner Manny (Peter Greene) as hoods from boys to men, until Manny betrays Nick during a restaurant holdup that sends Nick to Gotham’s Rikers Island prison. Amazingly, when Nick comes to L.A. to look up ex-g.f. Maria (Justine Miceli), he finds she’s just broken up with Manny, who is — even more amazingly — a cop. Caper-style section with Harry (Ed Lauter) grooming Nick to be gent crook (with Ryan O’Neal as a befuddled victim) is welcome relief from an otherwise botched job of a movie.