A thief making one last big score before he leaves the business for good, even though he’s pressured by a shady crime boss? Aided by an alluring female con artist who proves to be a perfect match for him when it comes to ripping off rich people? Boy, we haven’t seen all this before, have we? Yeah, Lying and Stealing may not have any originality to speak of, nor is it going to set the heist genre on fire, but somehow, director and co-writer Matt Aselton manages to craft a slick, fast-paced B-movie that passes the time perfectly, never once becoming dull or meandering.
If anything, this almost feels like a throwback to the old heist movies of the ’60s where everything felt like a glamoured, escapist fantasy with stunning locations, gorgeous looking lead stars and quickly-executed heists. That sense of romanticism is ever-present throughout, complete with luxury-designer houses and stunning wardrobes (courtesy of costume designer Natalie O’Brien), which is impressive considering the film’s limited budget.
There also seems to be a self-knowing, humorous quality in regards to some of the dialogue that’s spoken. It’s all clearly intentional, and whether or not you find this cute or cringy will depend on your tastes really.
Just like with all glamorous crime movies, we have to have ridiculously attractive leads, and this film certainly delivers on that front. After appearances in the Divergent series and Hugo Boos fragrance ads, Theo James makes a dapper thief, even if his performance is just serviceable. As for model-actress Emily Ratajkowski, she was surprisingly solid in her role as the mesmerising actress turned thief/accomplice, plus she has proven game when delivering certain corny one-liners. Also, the ever-brilliant Fred Melamed (famous for A Serious Man and In a World) puts in a suitably slimy turn as the big bad crime boss known as ‘The Greek’.
Lying and Stealing is as unoriginal as you can get, and it’s definitely not going to reinvent the heist genre any time soon, but it’s still a fun watch with some solid performances, a breezy pace, and impressive production design. If you’re planning on putting on a lightweight film for you and your friends to enjoy on a Friday/Saturday night, then this will do the job perfectly fine.
Dir: Matt Aselton
Scr: Matt Aselton, Adam Nagata
Cast: Theo James, Emily Ratajkowski, Fred Melamed, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Evan Handler
Prd: Mohamed AlRafi, Naomi Despres, Michael Costigan
DOP: Corey Walter
Run time: 100 mins
Lying & Stealing will be available on Digital Download from 11th November