Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
100 Greatest Videos Games Of All Time
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Empire Visits The Hobbit's VFX Team
Nick Frost:
My Movie Life

The World's End star's pick of the flicks
4Music's Size Does Matter
Introducing your new favourite app
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Cameron Diaz
Stanley Tucci
Alan Rickman
Colin Firth.
Directors
Michael Hoffman.
Screenwriters
Ethan Coen
Joel Coen.
Running Time
TBC minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Watermark
3 Star Empire Rating
They Came Together
3 Star Empire Rating
Attila Marcel
3 Star Empire Rating
Life Of Crime
3 Star Empire Rating
Island Of Lemurs: Madagascar
3 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Two Days, One Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Some Like It Hot
5 Star Empire Rating
A Hard Day's Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Boyhood
5 Star Empire Rating

Gambit
Heist and dry


submit to reddit


Plot
Art expert Harry Deane (Firth) enlists a forger (Tom Courtenay) and a Texan rodeo champion (Diaz) in a plot to defraud his odious employer, media baron Lord Shahbandar (Rickman). However, despite meticulous planning, the caper seems to veer off course.


Review
Gambit
Browse more images »
This loose remake of the 1966 Michael Caine-Shirley MacLaine-Herbert Lom entry in that decade’s sophisticated heist cycle opens with Pink Panther-like cartoon credits and a busy, burbly score to indicate that it is supposed to be funny. The approach is slightly too forced, which is a shame since the cast are strong enough to let us make our minds up about how amusing they are. Practised British underplayers Colin Firth, Tom Courtenay and Alan Rickman (who compete in dryness) are set against pull-out-all-the-stops Americans Cameron Diaz (who is still obliged to strip down to skimpy underwear in most of her films) and Stanley Tucci (as a funny foreigner).

The high concept of the original is the contrast between the protagonist’s smooth fantasy of a perfect crime with the more farcical reality of its execution. For instance, in the hero’s imagination, his Texan aide is a silent woman of mystery, but in actuality she won’t shut up and never sticks to the plan. The Coen brothers’ script retains this gag, but swiftly skips through the imaginary crime set-up, as if it were a trailer for the main attraction, to get to the more bumbling version — though it withholds key information and plays unfair in order to set up some third-act twists that undermine the whole premise of the movie. Firth starts out homaging Caine with his horn-rimmed cool but soon defaults to his usual repressed British clod mode, spending an inordinate amount of time teetering on a ledge of the Savoy hotel without his trousers.

This sort of thing needs a very light touch — frankly, lighter than Ronald Neame managed in 1966 — and certainly more adroitness than Michael Hoffman (The Last Station, One Fine Day) displays here. There are things to like, mostly sidelong looks or wry line-readings from Courtenay and Rickman, and there’s always pleasure in the mechanics of ripping off someone horrid who doesn’t deserve the money or the art collection. However, over-reliance on farts, nudity and toilet gags lands this a notch or so below The Truth About Charlie or The Thomas Crown Affair and The Italian Job remakes.


Verdict
A few smiles and some fraying charm, but big laughs are missing. This just about gets away with it rather than romps off with the loot.


Reviewed by Kim Newman

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Gambit
Empire Star Rating

A so-so heist film with Colin Firth and Cameron Diaz who try to get their hands on two rare and expensive paintings. They try to take them from rich art collector Alan Rickman. Typical middle of the road all-star vehicle that every now and again is entertaining and has nice parts but overall it doesn`t get enough out of its story /b] ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TheGodfather at 22:08, 17 March 2014 | Report This Post


They don't make 'em like they used to.

A movie that seems trapped between wanting to be a haphazard farce and a slick heist story, and sadly it achieves neither. Much like the forgeries that are the centrepiece of the film, Gambit may have the requisite brush-strokes, but it lacks feeling. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TheMightyBlackout at 19:21, 25 November 2012 | Report This Post


Gambit is a con that ain't on.

Promoted as "Written by Joel and Ethan Coen", audiences may come in expecting edgier Fargo or Burn After Reading Territory. Just don't Gambit is more similar to the Coen's Ladykillers remake, in that it is a film that leaves you feeling nothing (not hate, not love). One of the Coen's weakest writing efforts, perhaps there is a reason its taken 15 years to release and thusly feels so dated. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by JJB888 at 00:30, 23 November 2012 | Report This Post


Cameron Diaz...

What Happens in Vegas, The Box, My Sister's Keeper, the Charlie's Angels films, The Sweetest Thing... Why do people still put Cameron Diaz in their films? It's not that she's a terribe actress, it's more than she's so detestable. All her parts of late are just impossible to watch. I guess I've stopped loving Cameron Diaz ever since I saw Lost In Translation with Anna Faris playing a pretty accurate version of her. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Toursiveu at 08:56, 19 November 2012 | Report This Post


SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The Future Of Film: The Movie Business Will Be Like 15th Century Florence
How Annapurna's Pictures' Megan Ellison is the bright white hope of film funding

Gillian Robespierre And Jenny Slate Talk Obvious Child
Director and star on their acclaimed rom-com

Video Interviews: The Stars And Directors Talk As Above, So Below
We talked to Perdita Weeks, Ben Feldman and company about their underground horror…

The Future Of Film: All Big Blockbusters Will Be Shot At 48 FPS
Our month-long series begins discussing the innovations that will shape cinema

Video Interviews: Chloe Grace Moretz And Jamie Blackley Talk If I Stay
The stars, director R.J. Cutler and co-star Joshua Leonard talk YA adaptations

15 Of The Weirdest TV Cameos Of All Time
From Michael Palin in Home And Away to Ian McKellen in Corrie

Updated: The 36 Best Film-Related Ice Bucket Challenges
The viral craze that won’t quit takes in some of Hollywood’s finest

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)