Honest Thief

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Honest Thief
Honest Thief poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMark Williams
Written by
Produced by
  • Mark Williams
  • Myles Nestel
  • Tai Duncan
  • Craig Chapman
CinematographyShelly Johnson
Edited byMichael P. Shawver
Music byMark Isham[1]
  • The Solution Entertainment Group
  • Zero Gravity Management
  • Samuel Marshall Films
  • Ingenious Media
Distributed by
Release date
  • October 16, 2020 (2020-10-16)
Running time
99 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$30 million[2]
Box office$31.3 million[3][4]

Honest Thief is a 2020 American action-thriller film[5] directed by Mark Williams, from a screenplay by Williams and Steve Allrich. The film stars Liam Neeson, Kate Walsh, Jai Courtney, Jeffrey Donovan, Anthony Ramos and Robert Patrick, and follows a former bank robber who decides to turn himself in to the FBI, only to be set up by corrupt agents.

Honest Thief was theatrically released, including in IMAX, in the United States on October 16, 2020, by Open Road Films and Briarcliff Entertainment. The film received mixed reviews from critics, who praised Neeson's performance[not verified in body] but noted the film's familiarity.


Tom Dolan, a former US Marine and demolitions expert, has become a successful bank robber, earning the nickname the "In-and-Out Bandit". He turns over a new leaf when he meets and falls in love with Annie Wilkins, a psychology graduate student working at a storage unit facility.

Into their relationship, Tom attempts to turn himself in to the FBI in exchange for a short sentence so he can put his criminal past behind him. FBI Agent Sam Baker brushes him off, having received several false confessions in the past, and sends subordinates John Nivens and Ramon Hall to interview him. Tom directs them to the storage unit where his money is hidden. However Nivens starts having corruptive lucrative emotions and convinces Hall to steal the money and keep it for themselves. Nivens and Hall go rogue and confront Tom at gunpoint at his hotel where he reveals that he has two-thirds of the money hidden elsewhere as a bargaining chip, but Baker unexpectedly arrives. Nivens murders Baker, and Tom is forced to flee with Annie when she also arrives at the hotel.

Tom tells Annie everything and orders her to flee, fearing for her safety. However, she returns to the storage unit to get security camera evidence that shows Nivens and Hall stealing the money. Nivens and Hall show up and Nivens attacks and knocks Annie unconscious, but an increasingly reluctant Hall tricks him into thinking she is dead and takes the evidence, unbeknownst to Nivens. Tom finds Annie and races her to the hospital. He then escapes from police pursuit, defeats Baker's partner Sean Meyers in a fistfight, and tells him what really happened before escaping. Nivens goes to the hospital to kill Annie, but can't get near her because Meyers is sitting in her room. Subsequently, Meyers realizes that Tom is telling the truth after seeing that Nivens' story doesn't add up and returning Hall's gun to him which Tom had given to Meyers, unloaded, as proof during their fight.

Tom ambushes Hall in his home and convinces him to give up the security footage and the location of the safe house where the money was kept. Hall warns Tom that Annie's life is in danger and Tom gets Annie out of the hospital and takes her to a safe place before destroying Nivens' house. Tom then sends Annie to give Meyers the security footage and lead him to the rest of the money in another storage unit as a show of good faith. Nivens flees to the safe house and meets up with Hall, where Tom confronts them. When Nivens discovers Hall turned over the security footage, he murders him in a rage, wounds Tom, and escapes. Anticipating his actions, Tom plants a dud bomb in Nivens' car, forcing him to call in a bomb squad to disarm it. Meyers has Nivens arrested and recovers the stolen money from his car. After Nivens is gone, it’s revealed that Tom had the remorseful Hall keep a hidden voice recorder on his body which had caught Nivens confessing to Baker's murder as well as Nivens murdering Hall.

Meyers receives the voice recorder, exonerating Tom for the murder of Baker. With his name cleared of the murder charges, Tom turns himself in, and Meyers promises to try to get a lighter sentence for Tom. Meyers expresses his respect for Tom's actions in both taking down Nivens and turning himself in for Annie, suggesting that in other circumstances, Tom would make a good FBI agent.



On October 12, 2018, it was announced that Liam Neeson and Kate Walsh would star in the thriller film Honest Thief, as bank robber Tom and his love interest Annie, respectively, with Mark Williams directing. Jai Courtney and Jeffrey Donovan were also in talks for roles, with Tai Duncan, Myles Nestel, Williams, and Craig Chapman producing the film.[6] Courtney and Donovan were later confirmed along with Anthony Ramos, and Robert Patrick added to the cast in November, with filming set to begin on November 5.[7][8] The film was set in Boston, and shot in and around Worcester, Massachusetts.[9]


In January 2020, Briarcliff Entertainment acquired distribution rights to the film and set it for a September 4, 2020 release.[10] It was then re-scheduled to be released on October 9, 2020.[11] In June 2020, it was announced Open Road Films would co-distribute the film with Briarcliff.[12] After temporarily being pulled from the schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the film's ultimate U.S. release date was October 16, 2020.[13] Due to the lack of big-budget competition, the film also played in IMAX and Dolby theaters.[14][15]


Box office[edit]

Honest Thief has grossed $14.2 million in the United States and Canada, and $15.9 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $30.1 million.[3][4]

In the United States, the film grossed $1.3 million from 2,425 theaters on its first day, including $225,000 from Thursday night preview screenings. It went on to debut to $3.6 million, or $4.1 million including Canada's opening weekend the previous week, topping the box office.[14] In its second weekend the film made $2.4 million, remaining in first,[16] before being dethroned by newcomer Come Play in its third weekend.[17]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, Honest Thief holds an approval rating of 40% based on 106 reviews, with an average score of 5/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "Guilty of first-degree squandering, Honest Thief returns Liam Neeson to late-period action thriller mode but neglects to supply much of a story."[18] On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 46 out of 100, based on 21 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews."[19] According to PostTrak, 75% of audience members gave the film a positive score, with 53% saying they would definitely recommend it.[14]

Owen Gleiberman of Variety complimented Neeson for not phoning in his performance, but added, "Honest Thief isn't incompetent (for a certain kind of pulp action fan, it delivers just enough of the goods), but it's a textbook case of an action movie that goes through the motions."[20] Frank Scheck for The Hollywood Reporter said the film "delivers exactly what you expect" and wrote, "Running a sleek 90 minutes before the credits roll, Honest Thief is certainly efficient if not exactly original, with writer/director Williams infusing it with enough quirky character touches — such as Tom crankily complaining how much he hates his 'In and Out Bandit' moniker — to distract from the derivative feeling of it all."[21]


  1. ^ "Mark Isham to Score Mark Williams' 'Honest Thief'". Film Music Reporter. Archived from the original on August 16, 2020. Retrieved July 25, 2020.
  2. ^ John Jurgensen (January 25, 2021). "Liam Neeson Is the Secret Weapon for Getting People Into Movie Theaters". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved February 16, 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Honest Thief (2020)". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on October 1, 2020. Retrieved March 9, 2021.
  4. ^ a b "Honest Thief (2020) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved December 25, 2020.
  5. ^ "Liam Neeson Action-Thriller 'Honest Thief' Sells To UK". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on February 19, 2020. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  6. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr (October 12, 2018). "Liam Neeson, Kate Walsh To Star In 'Honest Thief'". Deadline. Archived from the original on October 12, 2018. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  7. ^ "'Hamilton' Star Anthony Ramos Joins Liam Neeson's 'Honest Thief' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Archived from the original on August 20, 2020. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  8. ^ "Robert Patrick In Talks To Board Liam Neeson-Kate Walsh Action-Thriller 'Honest Thief'". Deadline. Archived from the original on September 20, 2019. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  9. ^ Semon, Craig S. (July 31, 2020). "'Honest Thief' trailer showcases Liam Neeson's visit to Worcester". Telegram & Gazette. Archived from the original on August 7, 2020. Retrieved September 25, 2020.
  10. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr (January 22, 2020). "Briarcliff Entertainment Acquires U.S. Rights To 'Honest Thief;' Action Thriller Stars Liam Neeson & Kate Walsh". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on January 23, 2020. Retrieved January 22, 2020.
  11. ^ Chitwood, Adam (July 30, 2020). "Liam Neeson Blows Shit Up in Exclusive Trailer for Crime Thriller 'Honest Thief'". Collider. Archived from the original on July 31, 2020. Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  12. ^ Vlessing, Etan (June 22, 2020). "Open Road Relaunches With Liam Neeson's 'Honest Thief' Thriller". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on August 27, 2020. Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  13. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (September 22, 2020). "Open Road's Liam Neeson Action-Thriller 'Honest Thief' Going Wide This Fall, A Week Later". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on September 24, 2020. Retrieved September 22, 2020.
  14. ^ a b c D'Alessandro, Anthony (October 18, 2020). "Liam Neeson Action Pic 'Honest Thief' Nabbing $4M+ Total By Sunday; 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' Awakens – Box Office". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on October 17, 2020. Retrieved October 18, 2020.
  15. ^ "Honest Thief". IMAX. Archived from the original on October 21, 2020. Retrieved October 14, 2020.
  16. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (October 25, 2020). "'Honest Thief' Continues To Lead Lackluster Pandemic Box Office, 'Empty Man' Tripped By Holdovers". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on November 16, 2020. Retrieved October 25, 2020.
  17. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (November 1, 2020). "Focus Features-Amblin Horror Movie 'Come Play' Leading Halloween Pandemic Weekend B.O. With $3M+". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on November 16, 2020. Retrieved November 1, 2020.
  18. ^ "Honest Thief (2020)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Archived from the original on December 2, 2020. Retrieved October 10, 2021.
  19. ^ "Honest Thief Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on November 1, 2020. Retrieved November 2, 2020.
  20. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (October 13, 2020). "'Honest Thief' Review: Liam Neeson, Mad as Hell Again, as a Bank Robber Who Tries to Turn Himself In". Variety. Archived from the original on October 15, 2020. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  21. ^ Scheck, Frank (October 13, 2020). "'Honest Thief': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on October 16, 2020. Retrieved October 16, 2020.

External links[edit]