Finding Steve McQueen is a heist drama centring around a young man who idolises Steve McQueen, and follows him as he joins a gang of thieves as they plot to steal millions from President Nixon’s secret funds. This is loosely based around a true story and is told from the point of view of the gang’s getaway driver Harry Barber, with his McQueen inspired locks and mannerisms.
The performances too I’m afraid are also rather lacking, although a large part of this is likely down to the often dodgy script that seems to enjoy ramming 70s references down our throats whilst being completely unconvincing about every other aspect of the story. I haven’t see much of Travis Fimmel, so I’m not sure if his goofy persona in this is his acting style or in character, but either way it doesn’t always work. Rachael Taylor’s Molly seems out of place and rather unlikeable and it’s only Forest Whitaker as FBI Agent Howard Lambert who comes out unscathed, playing a rather aloof and unfazed agent on the tail of the gang following the heist.
The tale of the 1972 heist is recounted by Barber (Travis Fimmel) to his girlfriend Molly Murphy (Rachael Taylor) in 1980, after having been on the run from the FBI for 8 years. This starts out as though it could be a rather fun and lighthearted heist movie, but I’m afraid despite its short 90 minute run time, it feels rather drawn out and dull. Right from the get-go, the cinematography, directing style and just general look of this film just doesn’t feel right. It feels like it has been made for tv, it has that rather cheap look about it and sadly the camera angles and character styling do nothing but reinforce this. The CGI, whilst infrequent, is very bad and you can spot the green screen scenes a mile off. Even the car chase scene is lacklustre and unimpressive. You can tell that this hasn’t had a lot of money thrown at it.
The heist itself is really the main problem here. Instead of being a heist movie, this plays out like a romance with a little bit of heist thrown in, and not a very exciting one at that. There are some moments of intrigue and fun when you see how the gang pulled the heist off and later on how they got caught, but apart from this, it’s probably one of the dullest heists I’ve ever seen. Aside from a decent soundtrack, there is very little excitement in this. The motive for the heist also seems rather fuzzy and far fetched. Even the romance seems forced and wavers between being very fake and unconvincing to rather cringeworthy and cliched.
There’s also the question of whether this movie succeeds in finding Steve McQueen, and whilst it is undoubtedly a homage to the man himself, it is not a very successful one. It references all the right things but unfortunately struggles to get close to the man himself and as heist movies go, it may have done itself a disservice by trying to liken itself to McQueen and his successes. Overall I’m afraid this is a rather dull heist film that even with a low budget could’ve been much better.
Finding Steve McQueen will be available on Digital Download from 16th November and can be bought here
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A contract manager moonlighting as a rather discerning film and book critic, with an almost fangirl appreciation for anything made by Christopher Nolan. When I’m not catching up on my latest read or watch, you can usually find me trying out my amateur baking skills – Bake Off here I come!