I’d love to say that I absolutely adored Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway in the original version of this film. Except it would be a flat-out lie.
Maybe it was all the hype around this movie, but honestly … I was unimpressed.
First, you have the split-screen effects used at various points. Cute and clever at the time, I guess. Now, woefully outdated.
Second, those long, ever-so-meaningful scenes where McQueen (as Thomas Crown, rich big-shot and thief) stares silently into the eyes of Dunaway (as insurance company investigator Vicki Anderson, who’s pegged Crown as the one who ripped off her client), as the tune “Windmills of Your Mind” noodles in the background. Like that interminable incredibly long chess scene. One word: BORING!
I may have nodded off before they finally got around to kissing! 🙂
Then, there are those long (beautifully photographed) walks on the beach. They fly in Crown’s glider. They ride in his dune buggie. I guess there’s supposed to be a subtext of conflict. Well, if there is subtext, they buried it deep under so much nothingness, it numbs the mind.
Finally, the ending. It eventually and blessedly comes, and then it just lays there. And I was like, “That’s it? Well, that sucked.”
It sucked so bad, I thought my head would explode!
I think the only reason the original ended as it did was that Steve McQueen was too cool to be bested in any manner by a woman, of all things. That’s how the 60s were. Frankly, I don’t miss that.
Now, the remake … so much better.
First, the leads are played by Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo (the investigator whose character’s name was changed to Catherine Banning for some reason). And definite sparks fly between them in their scenes.
The story is much better crafted. Not only does Russo have to find a way to nail Brosnan, but given the romance that develops, she also finds herself at odds with the cops. Especially one cop in particular, played by Denis Leary.
The remake ditches the slow, staring parts between Crown and the investigator, focusing instead on creating great plot, building suspense, and showing us fascinating characters with complex feelings.
Finally, the ending. This time I didn’t know what to expect of the end. But when it arrived, I breathed a sigh of relief and said, “That was awesome.”
So, in my opinion, the remake of The Thomas Crown Affair has it all over the original. Hands down, and thumbs up! 🙂