Entrapment

on April 30, 1999 by Annlee Ellingson
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When producer-star Sean Connery (last seen in the ensemble romance "Playing by Heart") handpicked his co-star for "Entrapment," he emulated last year's popular Hollywood trend that paired Michael Douglas with Gwyneth Paltrow in "A Perfect Murder," Warren Beatty with Halle Berry in "Bulworth" and Harrison Ford with Anne Heche in "Six Days Seven Nights." Nearly 40 years her senior, Connery chose the fresh-faced Catherine Zeta-Jones. (Fresh-faced to American audiences, that is. This was before she was named ShoWest's Supporting Actress of the Year for her work in "The Mask of Zorro," and the Welsh actress was a television star in Britain before she crossed the pond.) The old gent doesn't seem comfortable with the fact that he could be his new love interest's grandfather, however, and the resulting uneven relationship jars the whole film.
   Connery plays Robert "Mac" MacDougal, an expert art thief who's showing no signs of slowing down in his old age. Zeta-Jones is Virginia "Gin" Baker, the insurance investigator on a mission to catch the old codger with his hand in the cookie jar--or is it that she wants the cookies for herself? The two of them set out to pinch a valuable Chinese mask, but this job is really just a testing ground. Once they've proven their trustworthiness to each other, Gin convinces Mac to assist her in a multi-billion dollar bank robbery. In the end, who's playing whom--and why--will surprise you.
   Gin first convinces her boss that she's the woman for the job because, well, she's not a man. Mac turns down her advances, however, claiming that they shouldn't let anything silly like emotional involvement get in the way of the task at hand. At this point, Gin becomes childlike, whining "But I'm not tired" when Mac tells her it's time for bed, and exhibiting a short attention span when he's trying to show her the finer points of grand larceny.
   But then there's that shot--included in the trailer by a savvy marketing team to ensure that every red-blooded heterosexual male shells out $8.50 to see it again--of Gin snaking under a red thread that's substituting for a laser beam. This whole scene is lensed in slow motion as the camera eases its way up and down her body in close-ups and heavy breathing fills the soundtrack. Still, there's no sex here (the film's rated PG-13), and the couple's happy reunion at the end in a dreamy cream-colored train station is consummated by just a hug.
   Mac and Gin's relationship is constantly fluctuating between that of a father and daughter--or, rather, a teacher and student--and that of lovers, like the filmmakers knew they needed an element of romance in their movie but weren't quite comfortable with the pairing of their leading man and lady. This uneven tone characterizes the film technologically as well: Director Jon Amiel's camera work is engaging, pairing close-ups and rack focus with a perpetually moving camera both outside and in, but his post-production dubbing doesn't always match. In the end, "Entrapment's" cleverly convoluted plot is its least confusing aspect. Starring Sean Connery, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Ving Rhames. Directed by Jon Amiel. Written by Ron Bass and William Broyles. Produced by Sean Connery, Michael Hertzberg and Rhonda Tollefson. A Fox release. Thriller. Rated PG-13 for some language, sensuality, violence and drug content. Running time: 113 min
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