Writer/director David Mamet intentionally employs affected dialogue, a premise so clichéd it's on its third go-round this year (following The Score and Sexy Beast), and somehow makes it all work--brilliantly. Gene Hackman is energetic and masterful as Joe, a veteran thief bound for retirement but dragged back for (all together now) one last score. Fence and frontman Bergman (Danny DeVito), who sets up the jobs for Joe and his crew (solid Delroy Lindo, witty Ricky Jay, and awkward femme fatale Rebecca Pidgeon), balks when it comes time to divvy up the loot. But he promises to do so, if Joe and his cronies pull off a complicated airport heist he's outlined, and allow Bergman's unctuous, dimwitted nephew Jimmy Silk (Sam Rockwell) in on the action. The film's highlight is Mamet's trademark heavily cadenced dialogue. Taken out of context, it's clumsy and artificial, but within the framework of this noir-tinged thriller--where quips shoot back and forth like crackling bullets ("I don't want you as quiet as an ant pissing on cotton. I want you as quiet as an ant not even thinking about pissing on cotton.")--the tough-guy talk and some great performances give Heist real heat.
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