Movie review: 'Stolen'

  • Updated: November 2, 2006 - 3:33 PM

Hollywood art heist movies make the guys who swipe masterpieces into light-fingered connoisseurs, generally played by elegant chaps such as Sean Connery or Pierce Brosnan. In reality, as this documentary shows, they're slash-and-grab thugs who resemble extras on "The Sopranos."

The film explores the largest art robbery in recent history, in which 13 priceless paintings were stolen from Boston's Gardner Museum on St. Patrick's Day 1990. It offers a colorful rogue's gallery of suspects for the still-unsolved case, with most fingers pointing to Irish-American thieves in cahoots with the IRA. The film is a bit rough around the edges, but it found an unforgettable character in a dogged 75-year-old art robbery sleuth named Harold Smith. Set against the crass motives of the mugs who swiped the art and the slithery equivocations of prosecutors, Smith's absolute dedication to recovering the lost paintings is a thing of rare beauty.

  • **½ out of four stars Unrated by the MPAA
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