Construction of a Heist

Construction of a Heist puts the mash-up technique to great use (and mixes in some side-by-side editing for good measure). The visual and narrative parallels between Topkapi (1964, Jules Dassin) and Mission: Impossible (1996, Brian de Palma) are laid out neatly and nicely. But that isn’t the most important accomplishment of this piece of audiovisual criticism.


It goes further than justing pointing out similarities. The pitfall of the side-by-side comparison is that it too easily limits its ambitions to merely indicting a more recent movie of copying an earlier one. But this video essay uses the technique in a methodical examination of the typical ingredients of the heist scene. In this essay, form follows function. And still leaves room for fun: there’s a great segment where both movies’ many references to clocks and rigid timing are presented in an imaginative and revealingly playful way. Finally, Henrike Lindenberger creatively uses dialogue from the movies to comment on the academic points she is making.