I’ve been thinking about heist movies lately, and it occurred to me that the kind of heist movie that I like has a bunch of pretty specific traits.
So here are some attributes that heist movies and TV shows that I like tend to have. (Doesn’t have to have all of these attributes for me to enjoy it, but most of the ones I like have most of these attributes.)
- It’s from the POV of the heisters.
- They’re at least semi-sympathetic characters.
- Nobody gets killed, throughout the movie/show. (Though people may appear to die.)
- The heisters are a team of highly skilled specialists.
- The heist seems impossible to carry out.
- The heisters have a complicated and very clever plan, which the audience isn’t entirely in on.
- There’s a point during the heist when everything seems to fall apart. Either it turns out that it was all according to plan after all, or the heisters have to scramble to deal with it.
- There’s some humor, but it’s not primarily a comedy.
- The tone is relatively lighthearted/fun, rather than dark/scary.
- Near the end of the story, there’s a reveal that shows a twist (usually some aspect of the execution of the plan) that the audience wasn’t previously shown.
- The heisters succeed (and escape) in the end.
…I guess another way to summarize that is that the story involves a group of likeable and skilled people doing something very clever in which nobody but the bad people get hurt (and even the bad people don’t die). I find that kind of story really appealing.
(Originally posted on Facebook; for followup comments, see that post.)