Director Mark Steven Johnson and co-writers Ken Mixon and Keith Sharon bring us a funny, smart and sweet film that is based on a true story of five guys out of Youngstown, Ohio who pulled off one of the largest bank robberies in history. They might have gotten away with it but for one critical mistake…
So here’s what we know, Henry (Travis Fimmel) stole big muscle cars and liked to try to outrun the cops. He worked at a small factory run by a small-time mobster name Enzo (William Fichtner). The year is 1972, and Enzo has figured out that there is a bank in California that has 30 million dollars of illegal campaign contributions to re-elect President Nixon (Enzo hates Richard Nixon, a man he considers a criminal). It’s a small bank in a tiny town and if they can figure out how to bypass or disable the alarm, they will have the whole weekend to pull off the heist. Henry desperately wants to be apart of the heist and wants to also include his troubled brother Tim (Jake Weary), who has just come back from the Vietnam War.
Henry’s hero is Steve McQueen (the movie star), and Jake wants to be just like McQueen’s character’s in the movies. The problem is Henry will never be as cool as his hero – he really doesn’t have it in him. But he is desperate to impress Enzo, so much so that he steals an alarm that he pulls off a building. There is a hilarious chase sequence that ensues, and Henry tries to elude the police cars while the alarm blares away inside his car. It turns out the alarm has a battery just for these things.
A Look At The First Scenes of Finding Steve McQueen
While the opening credits are rolling on the screen, we hear a car being revved up. The scene opens with the camera slowly heading down a small town road to a window that is over a movie theater marquee.
Henry is sitting on his bed with the phone on his lap and holding the receiver against his chest as we hear a dial tone. He is lost in thought and finally hangs up the phone.
We cut to the FBI headquarters in D.C., and a woman has interrupted a briefing that Howard (Forrest Whitaker) is giving.
We cut back to the room, and Henry now has on a yellow coat. He pulls an old baseball card off the wall and stares at the movie poster of Bullitt, a movie starring Steve McQueen.
We cut to Molly (Rachael Taylor), Henry’s girlfriend, who is waiting on Henry in a coffee shop.
We cut back to Henry’s room where he gives the movie poster a little part and then leaves the room.
We see Howard walk out of the F.B.I. and into a waiting town car – which takes off with a police escort. While being driven, Howard looks at a large folder of papers.
We see Henry walking to the coffee shop, where he pauses before going in. He turns away from the door, and it looks like he doesn’t want to go in.
We cut to Howard getting out of the town car and before he can get into a waiting helicopter, he drops the papers. They go flying everywhere. He hesitates for a second, thinking about trying to gather the papers and then gives up and gets into the helicopter. As the helicopter flies away the camera goes toward some papers that are stuck on a fence next to the runway. As some papers fly around we see that Henry is on a Wanted Poster, but his name isn’t Henry, it’s Harry.
Henry comes into the coffee shop, and he heads reluctantly over to the booth that Molly is sitting in, pausing several times before sitting opposite of Molly. Molly looks at him and tells him that he looks terrible. He remarks on her very blonde hair, which she says is styled like the singer Blondie. She asks Henry what is wrong, concerned that he isn’t well. A waitress comes over, and he orders everything on the menu with fudge in it. Molly orders a coffee as the waitress goes off to fill their order. Molly asks again what is wrong. Henry says that he has something to tell her that ‘is a little surprising, and you are not going to like it.’ He tells her ‘I’m not who you think I am.’. Henry begins to tell Molly about what happened to him 8 years ago. It’s a story that’s so unbelievable that Henry is going to have a hard time getting Molly to believe it.
The movie goes back and forth from Henry telling Molly the story in the coffee shop in 1980, to 1972 when the gang of robbers hit the bank on a weekend when they blow a three-foot hole in the vault’s ceiling.
Personally, I liked the whole cast in this film. The always reliable Forrest Whitaker does an outstanding job as the French horn playing F.B.I. agent in charge of trying to catch Henry and his fellow robbers. There is great chemistry between Racheal Taylor as Molly and Travis Fimmel, who is wonderful as Henry/Harry. There is also an incredibly funny scene in the last third of the film when Henry meets Molly’s parents at a cookout that had me on the floor laughing. Fimmel is perfect as the slightly-dim Henry, bringing a nice comic touch to the role.
The film has a score that uses classic old early 70s rock to set the mood. And the movie as a whole moves at a nice pace. I really liked the two chase sequences, reminiscent of the chase sequence in Henry’s beloved Bullitt. Finding Steve McQueen is a rousing, funny film that takes you on an adventure with some not so ‘Wise Guys.’
Finding Steve McQueen Review:
My Rating: Full Price
Mike’s Movie Rating System From Best to Worst
- I Would Pay to See it Again
- Full Price
- Bargain Matinee
- You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again