Film Review: 1970s Caper Film in Enjoyable ‘Finding Steve McQueen’

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Average: 4 (1 vote)

CHICAGO – The “caper” film, AKA the heist film, is one of the old reliable genres in the movies, and usually involves a gang of mismatched thieves. “Finding Steve McQueen” goes all the way back to the 1970s to spotlight a based-on-truth burglary that involves Tricky Dick himself, President Richard M. Nixon. Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

The gang is led by the underrated character actor William Fichtner (probably best known as the gun-waving astronaut in ‘Armageddon”), who depends on a dim-but-reliable car enthusiast played by Travis Fimmel, whose story is the focus of the film. The title is a reference to the Fimmel character’s love for the King of Cool, movie star Steve McQueen, and many of the film’s incidences either alludes to or directly comments upon McQueen’s films. Director Mark Steven Johnson (“Ghost Rider”) also does some fancy timeline jumping, as the film begins in 1980, but tells the story of the bank robbery and the main character’s love coupling in flashback. The story is interesting, the actors have fun and any memory of Steve McQueen is always welcome.

Harry Barber (Travis Fimmel) is a McQueen-obsessed fan from Youngstown, Ohio, who honors his hero by driving fast in cars. He’s kind of a drifter employment-wise, but finds his niche with his Uncle Enzo (William Fichtner), who is planning a bank robbery. Enzo figures a small town California branch contains illegal slush funds totaling 30 million bucks, hidden by President Richard M. Nixon.

Uncle E gathers Ray (Rhys Coiro) and Pauly (Louis Lombardi) to flesh out the gang, and Harry recruits his Vietnam vet brother Tommy (Jake Weary). Because the alarm system is old school, it is Harry who figures out – almost Forrest Gump-like – the intricacies of the break in. They get away with it initially, but the FBI has interest, including Agent Lambert (Forest Whitaker) and Deep Throat himself, W. Mark Felt (John Finn).

“Finding Steve McQueen” opens in Chicago on March 15th, part of a nationwide release. See local listings for theaters and show times. Featuring Travis Fimmel, William Fichter, Rachael Taylor, Forest Whitaker, Lily Rabe and John Finn. Written by Ken Hixon and Keith Sharon. Directed by Mark Steven Johnson. Rated “R”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Finding Steve McQueen”

King of Cool: Travis Fimmel in ‘Finding Steve McQueen’
Photo credit: Entertainment One

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Finding Steve McQueen”

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