Combustible Celluloid Review - Righteous Thieves (2023), Michael Corcoran, Anthony Nardolillo, Lisa Vidal, Jaina Lee Ortiz, Sasha Merci, Cam Gigandet, Carlos Miranda, Brian Cousins
Combustible Celluloid
Stream it:
Download at i-tunes iTunes
With: Lisa Vidal, Jaina Lee Ortiz, Sasha Merci, Cam Gigandet, Carlos Miranda, Brian Cousins
Written by: Michael Corcoran
Directed by: Anthony Nardolillo
MPAA Rating: R for language
Running Time: 92
Date: 03/10/2023

Righteous Thieves (2023)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Taking Art

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

What could have been a pretty solid heist story is thwarted by budgetary shortcomings, bits of awkward or confusing writing, and draggy direction that makes things feel like they're taking too long.

Annabel (Lisa Vidal) is a professional art thief, working with an organization called The Syndicate to steal back artworks plundered by Nazis during WWII. She learns the location of four priceless paintings (by Van Gogh, Degas, Monet, and Picasso) owned by her former mentor, Josef.

So she organizes a team — including computer hacker Lucille (Jaina Lee Ortiz), lock-picker and safecracker Nadia (Sasha Merci), tough guy Bruno (Cam Gigandet), and her loyal second-in-command Eddie (Carlos Miranda) — for a near-impossible mission to infiltrate what amounts to an impenetrable fortress. And the Neo-Nazi Otto Huizen (Brian Cousins), who possesses the paintings, knows they're coming.

Righteous Thieves gets points for its diverse cast and for its clear anti-Nazi sentiment, and it has a good spirit that sometimes helps scoot things along. But there are too many stumbling blocks, starting right at the beginning. It opens to a flashback in 1943, then cuts to 1985, where we meet a teen girl art thief who interacts with an older Jewish man. Then there's a dissolve, but the movie fails to let us know that we're now in the present day, and that the teen girl has grown up to become Lisa Vidal.

The name "Josef" is thrown around, even though we have no idea who that is, and, similarly, we're introduced to the villain without anyone ever saying his name. The pacing is frequently off, with scenes stretching out past the breaking point and becoming cumbersome, especially in the moments involving a clumsy romantic subplot between Eddie and Lucille. Perhaps the worst crime in Righteous Thieves comes in the final scene, which will have art lovers blowing their tops.

Movies Unlimtied