Tuesday, 28 December 2010



As an obsession rather than something to occasionally indulge in, I only really discovered cinema in the 1980s: 1984 to be precise, when I went to a re-release of Return Of The Jedi and caught a trailer for an interesting-looking pop musical entitled Breakdance. I duly went back the following week for 90 minutes of incomprehensible yoof jigging and, as a bonus, a trailer for the hilarious new comedy, Police Academy. By the time the next Friday rolled around, I was hooked (especially as the next upcoming trailer, Against All Odds, looked a bit saucy) and I started seeing pretty much whatever showed up.

Unsure, then, why I missed Thief Of Hearts. Certainly I would have gone to see it if it had played my local, but the IMDb doesn't list any UK release date for it so I can only assume that it went straight to VHS (although the BBFC did certify it for theatrical exhibition) and presumably none of my nearby rental outlets bothered to stock it. And it's taken me a quarter of a century to get round to renting it on shiny DVD and come to the conclusion that - well, it's okay.

Housebreaker Steven Bauer burgles the home of children's author John Getz and his neglected wife, interior designer Barbara Williams, purloining not only chunks of artwork but Williams' secret journals detailing her innermost erotic fantasies. They meet, apparently by chance, and their relationship quickly develops from professional (as he hires her to redesign his vast apartment) to a torrid and steamy sexual obsession as he uses the clues in her journals to seduce her. But it's obviously not going to end happily - if for no other reasons than John Getz' suspicions, and that Bauer's ongoing burglary career results in the death of a cop at the hands of his buddy David Caruso.

Yes, it's okay. Probably not worth waiting a quarter of a century for, but it's fine. It is, rather like a lot of the 1980s, very hollow, very amoral, very cold and very empty, and while I don't think it's quite as good a film, it reminded me a little of American Gigolo. All the definitive 1980s signposts are there: the fabulously big hair, the synth score (Harold Faltermeyer - curiously, some guide books credit Giorgio Moroder), the decor.... I kind of enjoyed it, and I also think I'd have liked it back in 1984 when I should have seen it. Not bad.


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