Movie Review

The Thomas Crown Affair

MPAA Rating: R for some sexuality and language

Reviewed by: Todd Adams
CONTRIBUTOR

Extremely Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adult
Genre:
Romantic Drama
Length:
1 hr. 53 min.
R

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Rene Russo, Denis Leary, Frankie Faison, Faye Dunaway, Ben Gazzara, Fritz Weaver | Director: John McTiernan

Don’t go see “The Thomas Crown Affair” for the James Bond / mystery combination the previews alluded to. The theater I was in was filled with teens probably expecting just that. “The Thomas Crown Affair”, in actuality, is a steamy romance set in a slower moving suspense/drama context.

Pierce Bosnan plays Thomas Crown: the man with too much money, a need for excitement, and a fear of vulnerability in relationships with women. Enter Rene Russo as Catherine Banning: the top level insurance investigator delving into a $100 million art theft and finding a lot more than she expects. This is a movie which puts pieces together one by one with a plot twist at each corner in the story.

The plot keeps the viewer waiting for answers to the very end, the acting is fine, and the soundtrack is very well done. But be warned: steamy gratuitous sex scenes glorify sex before marriage and, in my view, really bring this movie into question. Aside from these scenes and one scene of nudity, I could have given this movie a Moral Rating of 3. As it is, this is an R-rated romance. I was left with a sense that a passionate romance with passionate sex will all wonderfully work out in the end without any consequences: quite absurd. Please don’t believe this film’s endorsement of immorality without consequences.

Year of Release—1999

Viewer Comments
After leaving the movie I had the terrible desire of handing out two things to the next viewers of the film. The first was “No Doze” to keep them awake for the first half of the movie. During the movie, I kept nudging my wife and telling her, “This movie has to get more exciting.” Well, then it did, but not in a way that I would have hoped. So the second item I would give the viewers for the second half of the movie are blinders. The hero of the movie was a thief, and he was glorified. I got the impression walking away from the movie that if you are a clever thief and you can get away with stealing then congratulations. As some had already mentioned that fornication or premarital sex was also glorified. This is where the blinders may come in handy. Avoid this movie at all costs! My Ratings: [1/2]
—Paul Dias, age 38
OK, show of hands—how many really think you can go to an R rated movie and see a great Christ-oriented film? NO? Hmmm… Aside from the nudity and sex, all of which was totally pointless to the the story, I really enjoyed the movie. It kept me guessing and wondering what was going to happen next. Forget the James Bond stuff—even he was not this clever. I suggest if you’re thinking of watching this one, wait until it comes out on video, rent it, and fast forward through the sex and nudity. My Ratings: [1/3]
—Susie, age 47
What the reviewer and other commentators have said about the sexual content is true; but that’s not the only objectionable element. Remove the sex and you still have a story about a billionaire who not only makes no effort to use his wealth for the benefit or others, but who plays with other people’s lives for his own amusement. For instance: Crown hires a team of thieves to try to steal the Monet, knowing that the plan he gives them will fail. But the things they do, and the distraction caused by their capture, allow Crown to steal the Monet himself (and then return it when he’s done being amused). So his act of criminal solicitation for a “joke” sends several people to prison, possibly for the rest of their lives. Granted that as professional thieves they probably belong in prison anyhow, it still represents the ultimate in bad stewardship on Crown’s part. He’s playing God by deciding which art thieves and forgers are disposable and which ones should be protected! Crown might also have gotten a number of museum guards fired by his pranks. As ordinary people, should we be entertained by the idea of the super-rich treating us this way, and wish that we could be that powerful too? I don’t think so.
Brett Willis, age 49
I wouldn’t go so far as to doubt Rene Russo’s Christianity with this movie, but someone certainly needs to teach her that we are to avoid even the “appearance” of immorality. The movie has an interesting series of twists, but it really is as if it is set in someone’s pornographic fantasyland. The main characters seem to exist in this world of half-truths, extreme wealth and gluttonous self-mocking sex. My advice? DON’T BOTHER! This is definitely not worth watching—even my non-Christian friends agreed, and this is from Australians who are used to topless sunbathing at beaches.
—Angus, age 29
Sex, sex and more sex. If you left it out it could be a good short movie. I saw it with some non-christian friends and later felt embarrased.
—Paul Lackenbauer, age 34
The movie had an interesting plot with enough twists and turns to keep you guessing. However, that aside, the sex scenes were gratuitous and particularly appalling for someone who claims be a follower of Christ. I read an interview of Ms. Russo, wherein she said she asked God about the nudity and he didn’t answer, so I guess she took it as a sign to undress. MAYBE this was a test—standing firm in ones faith versus tinsel town’s “creative expression” mumbo jumbo and after seeing the film, I think she failed God and herself in a big way. I wonder if her pastor, Jack Hayford, was invited to her Preview?
—Rhonda Habitz, age 52
Rene Russo has been all over the news talking about her faith as a born-again Christian. She does several nude scenes in this movie! She has unmarried sex with Pierce Brosnan’s character! What a sad, grievous and disturbing comment on the world—what a terrible witness. It all reminds me of the Christians who thought “Titanic” was a great movie—when in reality it contained nudity, sex after 2 days between teenagers in the back seat of a car, drunkenness and rebellion and disrespect toward adults and parents. What a pathetic “love” story. WHERE ARE THE TRUE CHRISTIANS IN THIS AGE???
—Mark McSweeney, age 41
I had recently heard that Rene Russo was a Born Again Christian and, I have to admit, that, along with exciting previews, made this movie appealing. My wife and I were completely disgusted with the completely immodest Ms. Russo. While the story was very interesting, with good plot twists and intrigue, the full nudity and sex scenes were completely unnecessary. I’m afraid that I can’t in good conscience recommend this movie to anyone. I think Ms. Russo needs to re-examine what the Bible has to say about the glorification of sin.
—Andrew, age 32
It is possibly the worst movie I’ve ever seen. My whole group couldn’t believe that we had just sat through that entire movie. We thought we deserved our money back. But also, and far more importantly, is the issue of sex in the movie. …Rene Russo was naked for nearly as much of the movie as she was clothed. The sex was incredulous. Though Pierce Brosnan is seen naked only once, Rene Russo is at least topless in some 10-15 different scenes. My friends and I went to see this without any foreknowledge, and only because the movie we wanted to see was sold out. Had we known what we were about to see, we would have never seen it.
—Steven J. Jeantet
…The only intriguing aspect [of this film] is determining how encompassing the entire scam was… did it originate all the way back to stealing the Monet in order to attract the Banning character (since she was viewed as a worthy adversary)? The mysterious details with the robbery and where to hide the painting provides some interest, albeit mostly predictable. All in all, you will be asking yourself, didn’t “Entrapment” just come out? Even though it has its own issues, it is far less offensive than the Thomas Crown Affair. Also, I’ve been told that the original Thomas Crown Affair was excellent, garnering an oscar for Faye Dunaway, who has a cameo appearance in this 1999 edition as Crown’s psychiatrist. Christians will be offended by lots of nudity. A see-thru dress, bare breasts of Russo, gluteous maximus of Brosnan, sex scenes… could this be the unadvertised version of “Eyes Wide Shut” movie? We were shocked at the amount of Russo’s nakedness shown… was this a European film? The language is poor as well. This could have been a much better movie. Even if it had only emphasized the mysterious theft and relational manipulations as Banning and Crown played cat and mouse! Instead, they needlessly added the third prong of sex and nudity. If you have any issues with lust of the eye, you need to avoid this movie. 1 John 2:15-17
—Tim Emmerich
I’m not sure what the reviewer was thinking when they said partial nudity, but as I remember it it was awful, full frontal, Rene Russo in her fullest. It was gross, and the camera seems to linger on that are of her for a while at least twice. I was appalled and stared at my friend in wonder as we tried to decide when it would be over. We thought it was but we were wrong. For a while Renee Ruso decides that t-shirts are completely unnecessary and walks around topless, braless, whatever. Don’t watch this porn flick, even partial nudity is too much.
—Kyle, age 16