|Directed by||Mark Williams|
|Edited by||Michael P. Shawver|
|Music by||Mark Isham|
|Box office||$31.3 million|
Honest Thief is a 2020 American action-thriller film 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.
- Liam Neeson as Tom Dolan, an aging thief known as the "In-and-Out Bandit".
- Kate Walsh as Annie Wilkins, Tom's love interest.
- Jai Courtney as Agent John Nivens, a corrupt FBI agent.
- Jeffrey Donovan as Agent Sean Meyers
- Anthony Ramos as Agent Ramon Hall, a corrupt FBI agent and John's partner.
- Robert Patrick as Agent Sam Baker
- Jasmine Cephas Jones as Beth Hall
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. 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. The film was set in Boston, and shot in and around Worcester, Massachusetts.
In January 2020, Briarcliff Entertainment acquired distribution rights to the film and set it for a September 4, 2020 release. It was then re-scheduled to be released on October 9, 2020. In June 2020, it was announced Open Road Films would co-distribute the film with Briarcliff. 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. Due to the lack of big-budget competition, the film also played in IMAX and Dolby theaters.
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. In its second weekend the film made $2.4 million, remaining in first, before being dethroned by newcomer Come Play in its third weekend.
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." On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 46 out of 100, based on 21 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews." According to PostTrak, 75% of audience members gave the film a positive score, with 53% saying they would definitely recommend it.
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." 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."
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