Christensen is James, former bad guy now on the straight and narrow. He has a job, a plan for his own business and has even started to court old flame Emily (Jordana Brewster)—who, unfortunately, as it turns out, works as a police dispatcher—again. He also has a brother, Frankie (Brody), who took the fall for James in a long-ago crime. Now Frankie is out of jail, desperate and hungry, and asks a favour, actually, insists that James help in one last heist with some new partners. Taking part will mean betraying Emily, but blood is thicker than water and James reluctantly signs on.
A case study in damaged souls by way of Central Casting, “American Heist” looks and feels like any number of other 1990s inspired crime dramas that came before it. There’s the loving, troubled and doomed brother, then there’s the soulful conflicted sibling whose world is turned upside down, torn by love for a woman and loyalty to his brother. It is, I suppose, the stuff of great drama, just not here.
There are a few arresting images—a blood splattered bride among them—and Brody brings some likeable intensity to Frankie, but as a whole “American Heist” feels like it belongs on VOD and not the big screen.