Thick as Thieves

Director: Scott Sanders
Screenwriters: Scott Sanders

Institute History

  • 1999 Sundance Film Festival


Terrific genre film used to be the staple of the studios, but it’s rare to find exemplary work today. Welcome to Thick as Thieves, as inventive, sardonic, and playfully derivative a gangster film as we’ve seen in a while. Director Scott Sanders fashions a joyfully witty piece of pulp fiction that borrows, blends, and begets a stylish and imaginative take on familiar territory.
Mackin (Alec Baldwin) is a thief with retro tastes and an obsessive love for his dog. Cool, but not too cool, he’s a pro’s pro. So when he’s set up after a job, he doesn’t just take revenge; he exacts painful retribution that’s meant to send a message. Meanwhile Pointy Williams, the black gang boss, whose gold chains might
mislead one to underestimate his serious nature, must respond in an equally violent and vile manner. As mutual escalation threatens “business,” the Mafia steps in to restore equilibrium of a sort!
With Rebecca de Mornay as the detective investigating the murders and mayhem and Andre Braugher as Dink, Pointy’s sophisticated lieutenant, Thick as Thieves is Elmore Leonard with a new persona. It’s black versus whiteversus black versus whomever, the old mob and the new. With dialogue, structure, character, and sensibility; continual plot twists, and an intelligence from both the street and the academy, Sanders is a talent to watch. He has the kind of artistry studios used to sign for the long term in Hollywood’s heyday.

Scott Sanders, Director
Scott Sanders grew up in
Washington, D.C. He moved to Los Angeles in 1990. After a brief stint in the United Talent Agency mailroom, he began working as a staff writer on the television shows A Different World, Roc, and The Williams Broghers. In 1995 Sanders made the short film, Decline and Fall, based on a short story by Charles Bukowski. Thick as Thieves is his first feature film.

— Gepffrey Gilmore

Screening Details

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