Artworks Release Date: 2003 Genre: Crime | Drama | Romance Director: Jim Amatulli Writer: Jim Amatulli & Lee Watters Starring: Virginia Madsen, Rick Rossovich and Eddie Mills Impressively directed but mundanely scripted, Artworks truly could have been something special. Made with an appropriate budget that allows it an above TV movie-like atmosphere, Artworks tackles a […]

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Artworks
Release Date: 2003
Genre: Crime | Drama | Romance
Director: Jim Amatulli
Writer: Jim Amatulli & Lee Watters
Starring: Virginia Madsen, Rick Rossovich and Eddie Mills

Impressively directed but mundanely scripted, Artworks truly could have been something special. Made with an appropriate budget that allows it an above TV movie-like atmosphere, Artworks tackles a topic that, to my recollection, hasn’t been done in a direct-to-video film for quite a while; an art heist. Unfortunately, the setup and execution is weak, leaving the film all together limp.

Virginia Madsen plays Emma Becker, a disenfranchised painter who works for a powerful security system company thanks to her father, a renowned Police Chief (played with much discipline by Daniel von Bargen, the excellent Commandant on “Malcolm in the Middle”). Angry at the world, especially the husband who couldn’t even show up to the hospital to watch her give birth to a dead child, Becker finds herself without any inspiration for life.

It’s at an art gallery that she meets Bret Rogers, a charismatic seller who has been involved in the stealing and selling of art pieces in the past. As is the course for these movies, the two quickly become romantically involved. It is right here that the script’s big problem comes to light. Bret convinces her, with absolutely no hesitation on her part, to use her power at the security company to assist in the heist of various high-end artworks from snooty socialites who don’t appreciate their beauty. But with every heist comes the eventual trapping by the police, and you know what to expect from there.

Director Jim Amatulli will absolutely no doubt have a career in directing for many years if he wants one. His production is a step above a contemporary, network TV movie. But he should stay away from writing. His approach to the heist film, which may or may not be the fault of co-writer Watters, is unimpressive. Not only that, the ending, while creative, was essentially tackled before in Novocaine, amongst others.

Nonetheless, it may be worth a watch for the anesthetic pleasures and the above average performances.

DVD: Standard Direct-to-Video Release®.

Interestingly enough, about three hours after writing this review I read through the latest Video Business to learn that Sony is releasing Art Heist, starring William Baldwin, in March

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