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Stolen (Unrated)

Release Date: April 21st, 2006 (Cinema Village) by International Film Circuit.
Directed by Rebecca Dreyfus.

BASIC PREMISE: A documentary about the mystery behind the 300 million dollar heist of Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: As an investigative documentary, Stolen has a few moments of suspense and mystery, but it soon goes off on too many tangents. In 1990, two thieves impersonated Boston police officers and managed to walk away with 13 precious paintings totaling $300 million—the largest heist in the art history world. Now, over ten years later, director Rebecca Dreyfus wants to find out who were the thieves and recovering the paintings. She comes across Harold J. Smith, a detective specializing in recovering lost art and antiques. Even though he was diagnosed with skin cancer years ago, he still puts in a strong effort to investigate the mystery day and night—in fact, he calls his son to discuss ideas at 4 a.m. Smith speculates the heist had something to do with the Irish mafia. He claims that, over a span of ten years, relationships evolve which means that somebody should call with information regarding the whereabouts of the paintings—especially with a large sum of reward money. Some of the callers give dead-end leads which tend to be quite funny, such as one who claims that the stolen paintings are simply hidden behind the current ones. Dreyfus goes off on a tangent to focus on “The Concert”, a very intricate painting by Johannes Vermeer, but too much time is spent on analyzing the painting’s intricate details which show, again and again, how essential this painting is to the art world. Unfortunately, too many dead-end leads make for a frustrating and boring experience at times, even though it’s beyond Dreyfus’ control. It would have been interesting to focus more on how how the thieves might have stolen the paintings by looking at evidence. No real thief would come forward with his crime without expecting to face criminal charges. Even a fast-talking man nicknamed Turbo doesn’t offer enough real evidence to convict anyone.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: Unfortunately, none.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Unfocused and unsurprising.


IN A NUTSHELL: Mildly entertaining, but unfocused, unsurprising and unrewarding.


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