Watch Thieves Like Us
- 2 hr 3 min
Thieves Like Us is a film from 1974 that follows the story of three escaped prisoners - Bowie, Chicamaw, and T-Dub - who embark on a crime spree in Mississippi during the 1930s. The film, directed by Robert Altman, is based on the novel of the same name by Edward Anderson. At the center of the film is Bowie, played by Keith Carradine, a young man who has recently escaped from prison after he was jailed for murder. With a knack for robbing banks and a romantic interest in a young woman named Keechie, Bowie becomes the de facto leader of the trio of thieves.
As Bowie continues to rob banks and evade the law, he and Keechie form a relationship that becomes increasingly important to both of them. Shelley Duvall plays Keechie, a young woman who is also on the run from the law after her father is convicted of murder.
As the film progresses, the trio of thieves begins to unravel. Chicamaw, played by John Schuck, becomes increasingly violent and unpredictable, while T-Dub begins to have second thoughts about their life of crime.
The film's plot is driven by the relationships between its characters - particularly the relationship between Bowie and Keechie. The two are drawn to each other, despite their troubled pasts and the fact that Bowie is a criminal on the run.
One of the most notable aspects of Thieves Like Us is its direction by Altman. The film is shot in a loose, naturalistic style that emphasizes character and emotion over plot. Altman's use of long takes and overlapping dialogue gives the film a sense of verisimilitude, and his use of music - including both contemporary pop songs and original compositions by John Williams - helps to underscore the film's themes of love and violence.
Thieves Like Us is often compared to Bonnie and Clyde, the 1967 film about a criminal couple on a crime spree. Like Bonnie and Clyde, Thieves Like Us portrays its protagonists as doomed romantics: young people who are trying to escape their troubled pasts but are ultimately caught up in a violent, self-destructive cycle.
However, where Bonnie and Clyde was criticized for glamorizing violence and criminality, Thieves Like Us takes a more nuanced approach. The film's characters are never presented as heroic or even particularly likable. Instead, they are flawed and damaged, struggling to survive in a world that has been unkind to them.
Thieves Like Us was not a commercial success upon its release, but it has since become a cult favorite. Its depiction of, in the words of one critic, "young outcasts on the loose, unmoored from society, only giddily grabbing for life", has resonated with audiences over the years.
In addition, the film is notable for its performances. Carradine and Duvall both deliver strong performances as the young lovers, and Schuck is particularly memorable as the unhinged Chicamaw.
Overall, Thieves Like Us is a gritty, compelling film that explores the lives of young people on the fringes of society. Its naturalistic style, nuanced characters, and strong performances make it a standout in the crime film genre.