Release Date: 27/05/2021
In his second feature as a director, Honest Thief , filmmaker Mark Williams ( A Family Man ) tells the story of a career bank robber intent on turning himself in for the sake of love, who gets caught up in a violent conflict with two crooked FBI agents intent on stealing his money.
Tom (Liam Neeson) is a lot of things, but two in particular: an infamous thief and a newfound romantic. His feelings for his new flame Annie (Kate Walsh) have inspired him to right his past wrongs and leave behind his life of crime. Although he has always worked with integrity and precision, exclusively carrying out non-violent bank jobs, he does not want his relationship with Annie to be built upon lies. He resolves to turn himself in to the FBI and forfeit the money he has stolen in return for a plea deal and a clean slate. When he calls the Boston FBI field office to confess and set a meeting, Agents Baker (Robert Patrick) and Meyers (Jeffrey Donovan) laugh it off as a prank.
They send their subordinates, Agents Nivens (Jai Courtney) and Hall (Anthony Ramos), instead. The two younger agents are shocked to discover that Tom is the real deal, and see Tom’s stolen money as their golden ticket to a better life. So begins a cat-and-mouse game where good and bad become tangled, but love always rings true.
Honest Thief is written and directed by Mark Williams and stars Liam Neeson ( Taken ), Kate Walsh ( Grey’s Anatomy ), Jeffrey Donovan ( Burn Notice ), Jai Courtney ( Suicide Squad ), and Anthony Ramos ( Hamilton ). The ensemble cast includes Robert Patrick ( Terminator 2: Judgment Day ) and Jasmine Cephas Jones ( Blindspotting ).
Completing Williams’s creative team are director of photography Shelly Johnson ( Captain America: The First Avenger ), production designer Tom Lisowski ( The Oath ), film editor Michael P. Shawver ( Black Panther ), with music by Mark Isham ( The Accountant ). The film is produced by Mark Williams ( Ozark ), Myles Nestel ( Wheelman ), Tai Duncan ( Proud Mary ), Craig Chapman ( Wheelman ), and Jonah Loop ( The Kid ). The executive producers are Lisa Wilson, Andrea Ajemian, Charles Dorfman, David Gilbert, Simon Williams, Christelle Conan, James Swarbrick, Will Young, Martin Sprock, Jonathan Bross, Joe Simpson, John Jencks, Jay Taylor.
An Action Movie with Heart
“It has the action, the thrills, car chases, guns going off, things exploding. But at the heart of it, it’s a love story, and to me that’s the most important thing.” Mark Williams “The themes of the story really revolve around second chances and redemption. Both characters, Tom and Annie, find themselves in situations where the past hasn’t been so kind to them. And this situation gives them an opportunity to, not only find a second opportunity in life, but find love in the process.” Mark Williams “He’s infamous. And he has met a woman, not a girl, he’s met a woman. And he, for the first time in his life, has really fallen in love. I guess it says something about the power of love that he’s decided to give up this sort of bandit career, accumulating these millions of dollars that he’s never going to spend. So I just thought that was really original. It really touched me.” Liam Neeson “I think that the love story aspect of it is really interesting – particularly for Liam’s character, having done a lot of these different action pieces – but I think if you look at what each character will do for that and who they love, it’s not just our two main characters, but a lot of the characters throughout the movie are making decisions on a regular basis for the love of their family or love of their occupation or love of each other.
And I think that’s a powerful human condition. We all do it on a daily basis. We’re making decisions constantly, good and bad, for what we love or are searching for. So I think that’s something that will resonate with just about anyone.” Mark Vanselow “I was really drawn to this idea of a love story and people’s second chances, where both the role that Liam plays and that I play are just two people that have a history and a past, like we would at our ages, and find each other. And it’s about what you do for love and how you grow and expand for love, with love, in ways that you probably never thought you’d have to, or would ever anticipate. I thought that was a really interesting, beautiful theme to explore. And especially in times where we’re in a world that could be dark and tumultuous, to have this kind of beautiful story in the midst of craziness was really cool.”
“It’s a second chance story about somebody who is so in love with another person that the idea of having any kind of emotional overhang or corruption within that isn’t worth it. So trying to come clean, trying to be forgiven for your past so that you have the freedom and the space to move forward, is kind of spectacular.” Jonah Loop “What would you be willing to do? What would you be willing to pay for a second chance at life and love? And that was the interesting thing for me. It really presents this question as to what is life about, what does it really mean and what is it worth? And I think it confronts that question in a pretty unique way. And that was the exciting part about it for me.”
“I think it’s [about] redemption. You know, it’s about a guy wanting to do the right thing after he’s done the wrong thing for so long. He has this moment where he’s like, I want to make my wrongs right. How many of us have thought of that in life, period? I mean, people say, No regrets. I’m like, yeah, all right. No regrets. Okay, sure. We all have one or two things we’ve done in life where we’re like, Man, I wish I could take that one back. And this is about a guy who was confessing to that, and then what sparks that confession is love, which is even deeper. So it’s about a guy who wants to do the right thing. Not because he feels guilty, but because he’s fallen in love and he wants to preserve that as long as he can. And the only way to do that is to be vindicated, you know? And then boom, you cut to this other storyline with these other two guys. You got one partner who gets involved in this thing that is way bigger than anything he ever imagined, but it’s only because in the back of his mind, he’s like, my family can be good after this. I can take care of my family and not stress over the things that I usually stress it over. And then you’ve got the other guy on the other hand who was like, I’m just trying to get it all and I don’t care who I’ve got to cut to do it, you know? There’s so many layers in this story.”
“Well, the elements that really drew me in were, it’s anchored in this love story between Tom and Annie. He’s a really relatable character. He’s a guy who’s going straight for love and trying to get a sort of second lease on life and have a second chance to clear his conscience and to just clean the slate and move forward. And he’s been a career criminal, but for reasons that I think stem from an honorable place in a way.”
“I hope audiences are entertained and enjoyed the ride, but also they think about things like second chances and redemption, and the fact that we’re not all perfect but sometimes love is enough, and if you stick by people that you care about, love will win.”
“I hope audiences are a) entertained. That’s very, very important. It’s a nice pulse of entertainment for 93 minutes. I think they come away and still believe that love is possible at any age, but just be really entertained, you know? And believe the scenes they’re seeing and believe the couple of car chases there are. That’s about it. There was no hidden message around it. I guess it would be, if I was to wear a banner, it would be, believe in the power of love, you know, it’s powerful. John Lennon said, All you need is love. I tend to believe that, especially in these times we’re living in.”
Directed By: Mark Williams
Cast: Liam Neeson, Jai Courtney, Kate Walsh, Jeffrey Donovan, Anthony Ramos