Starring: Kapsar Carr ( I guess)
Directed by: Malik Bader
Movie Released: 2006
I had many a person tell me to check out this “crime. thriller” most likely because of the Woodridge, Illinois establishment this petty career criminal tries to heist that will remain nameless for the sake of this review. Many of these people thought that I might enjoy seeing a certain franchise be heisted in a film because I may have been dutifully employed by this very same company. I’ll leave it up to the viewers of the film to fill in the blanks for those of you baby birds who still need to be force fed. I have to say I had some very strange thoughts and feelings on the film Street Theif, and after a day of thinking about it, I think I’ve finally wrapped my brain around it enough to share my thoughts with you.
Shot in a documentary style, Street Thief sets out to try and show viewers what life is like as a career burglar, as we follow Kaspar Karr, a seasoned criminal master mind. The “documentary” director follows Carr trying to get the inside information on what it is like to scope out and study your mark before planning and executing the perfect heist. At first glance this film seems like it just might be a very interesting film. The problem is, as a viewer- you’re the mark.
The film falsely presents itself due to its documentary style, but it is simply far from it. Perhaps that is why the makers of this film call it a “crime. thriller” but really don’t go out of their way to point this out. Instead they call it a “historical record” at the beginning of the film. Unbeknownst to some viewers, Street Thief is a fictional story, a recreation based on supposed actual events. The directors of the film claim to have studied and have knowledge of real burglars and how they will case a mark before a break in. The film’s main character, Kaspar Carr, is a fictional compilation of these men’s studies into the criminal underworld.
Simply put, the film is a fake that presents itself as being very real. I was a little disappointed by that. Of course, it has to be. After all, anyone who films crimes without reporting is an accessory and would be imprisoned themselves, but the film presents it as a actual record. Now don’t get me wrong, that’s not the reason I liked or disliked the film. In fact, the “fake doc” style actually enhances the film. It makes it seem gritty, real and even adds some interest and intrigue. However, I felt that the directors went out of their way to try and pull the wool over viewers eyes, claiming to be “original” like the Blair Witch Project. Problem is unless you are a member of The Ghost Adventures Crew you already know the Blair Witch is a hoax, Kaspar Carr could be the real deal. Instead, he turns out to be a Keyser Soze.
Cinematically I don’t think Street Thief would have worked as a film if it had not gone for the documentary style. However, the film centered itself around a mediocre, hypocritical, fake crook that really wasn’t believable. In fact, I had a very hard time believing that Kaspar Carr knew what he was doing half the time. It seemed like some of his “plans” were hatched from reading too many dime store detective novels with very little known about commercial security systems. Simply cutting the phone lines to the alarm panel will have the cops on your doorstep in no time, but not in the world of Kaspar Carr. Never mind, motion sensors, door sensors or anything else that might be in Kaspars way, we simply dismiss these elements to make the film flow. In fact, I know for a fact that certain establishment does not have any of the paperwork thrown away in the trash like Kaspar Carr claims. Mix that in with a unbelievable imprisioned “burglar” giving comparable testimonies, and this film screams fake at the top of it’s lungs while at the same time tries to play it off as the real deal.
When it is all said and done, Kaspar Carr’s tale was kind of an interesting ride, but the end result was a film that built itself on a house of cards, and that house of cards tumbles quickly. Stylistically, the film holds up but the rest of this balloon of a film bursts quickly. A cast of “overly fake” crooks, glazed over details to enhance a plot and a ludicrous ending to the film makes this film a wannabe classic. I’m reminded of one of my favorite lines from The Usual Suspects as I find a fitting closing to this review. “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled, was convincing the world that he did not exist. And just like that…He was gone.” The makers of Street Thief wanted to be the devil, it’s just too bad they couldn’t pull it off.