The Sting

When small time conman Johnny Hooker (Robert Redford) accidentally steals $11,000 from racket running mob boss Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw), he finds himself on the run after his partner is killed. Skipping town, Hooker teams up with long con artist Henry Gondorff (Paul Newman) to exact revenge. This reteaming of the stars and director (George Roy Hill) of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid doesn’t quite reach the heady heights of the original, though a lot of attention has been paid to recreate a 1930s feel, from an old-fashioned opening logo, character introductions and hand-drawn chapter cards to everything being tinged with a sepia hue. 

I used to be a big fan of Hustle, so the route the plot takes was no surprise to me, with only one moment really catching me out. This let down the film in my expectations, and though the acting is solid, all involved have done better, most notably Shaw in Jaws and the Taking of Pelham One Two Three. Still, it’s a lot better than most other heist movies, it’s just a shame that watching them all ruined this one for me.

Choose film 7/10

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

They actually got Robert Redford to run along the top of a moving train. How amazing is that? Yes I’m sure these days there are some actors willing to do their own stunts (and by stunts, they are probably referring to such extreme activities as riding a horse) but running along a moving train? Redford probably needs a wheelbarrow with him at all times to carry those balls of his in. It’s this devil-may-care, balls to the wall sensibility that shines through in Butch and Sundance, throwing in any number of cinematic tricks and keeping what stuck, from showing a road trip taking in destinations including New York and South America entirely in photographic stills, to probably the most famous and iconic freeze-frame ending in history. It is this, combined with Redford and Paul Newman’s co-dependent relationship and easy banter, even in the tightest of situations, that makes the film still a genre classic to this day.
Choose film 9/10