Monday, January 21, 2013

Sneakers, part 10

Scene 17: The (im)perfect heist, part 1--getting in for the box
The heist starts off going fine, with tiny notes of worry to keep the audience engaged. But note that the script doesn’t burn us out with extended “oh no” moments.

For instance, disguised as a gardener, Carl slips into an air vent from a bathroom. One of the front lobby security guys gets a little suspicious at how long the gardener is in the bathroom, which automatically makes him seem more professional than the young guy at the bank in scene 2 and the harried guy at Coolidge in scene 10. But before he can report the strangeness, he sees the gardener outside again, so lets it go. (All while we see that this gardener is really Mother, but their outfits make them look the same.)

From inside the air vents, Carl slowly raises the temp in Cosmo’s office (and good thing Cosmo never goes to his office the whole day despite having this awesome new black box toy), but the rest of the heist takes place at night. Liz is on another fake date with Werner in order to steal his ID card, which goes smoothly until Cosmo’s robot dog accidentally spills Liz’s purse, and he learns that she’s not who she says she is.

There’s a lot of cutting here, between Liz on her downwardly spiralling date, Marty breaking in with Werner’s ID and voice-print, and the surveillance team of Don and Mother (almost getting into an argument about cattle mutilations). (Whistler is there too, but the movie doesn’t make a huge point of this, which helps us to forget him, which makes his appearance in scene 18 more surprising and satisfying.)

So everything goes smoothly, with Marty breaking into Cosmo’s office and moving very slowly. But then Werner shows up, dragging Liz in, claiming that she’s trying to steal from his office. Now we have another ticking clock scenario, with the bad guys coming to check Werner’s office while Marty is stealing from Cosmo. Very. Slowly. And here’s a ticking clock where we know the consequences will be dire.

But Marty gets safely into an air vent and Cosmo is just about to turn Liz free... until she says that this will be the last time she goes on a computer date. Cosmo knows what that means. (Does he get nervous any time computers are mentioned?)

So that’s quite a nice little rollercoaster ride, with some “oh no” moments (emphasized by the music)--the guard’s suspicion of Carl, the dog exposing Liz, Werner getting Cosmo’s attention, and Liz saying the wrong thing to Cosmo--and some relaxation of those moments--the guard stops being suspicious, Cosmo stops being suspicious.

But we end on a low note, with Cosmo recognizing that Marty stole the box--but he has Marty’s girl. (And as we know from the party scene, Marty may like hacking, but he loves women.) So what’s he going to do?

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