‘Honest Thief’ – Does Everyone Deserve a Second Chance? [Movie Review]

As Tom (Liam Neeson) decides to leave his thieving ways behind him, the real question in The Honest Thief; is can someone truly change?

By Salt 106.5 Network Sunday 8 Nov 2020

The last time we were talking about Liam Neeson he was hanging out with his son in Italy thinking about art and grief. Now he’s back to his, “I will find you, and I will kill you” Taken roots in Honest Thief.

Tom (Liam Neeson) is an illusive career criminal, who’s been dubbed the ‘In-and-Out Bandit’ by the American Government who want to bring him in for robbing banks and stealing upwards of $9 million. When Tom meets Annie (Kate Walsh) he decides he’s going to turn himself in so they can start a new life together, but he gets double-crossed by some wayward FBI agents in the process.

As Tom decides to leave his thieving ways behind him, and see how he’d fair as an everyday guy, the real question in Honest Thief is: does everyone deserve a second chance? Can we really leave our past behind and truly change?

Tom has to prove to Annie that he’s not a bad guy pretending to be good but is, in fact, a good guy who got caught up in something bad. It’s a subtle distinction but is the clincher as to whether or not Tom is a guy you can trust and want to root for, or one who should feel the full weight of the consequences of his actions.

Honest Thief also brings a bit of a reality check to the redemptive ‘before and after’ stories we all love to see: the drug dealer who became pastor and inmate mentor, the dishonest teenager who corrected her course and became a renowned entrepreneur.

What those stories can overlook is the in-between. Where the hard work of changing your habits, soul searching and asking forgiveness has to happen. The part where those around you choose whether they’ll believe you can be better, and still want you involved in their lives.

In Honest Thief, there’s no denying Tom can’t just go from thief to upstanding citizen the moment he makes a call to the FBI.

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For the Christian viewer, the theme of transformation is very familiar to us on our spiritual journey.

First, we encounter it when we receive Christ and move from death to life, and then as we continuously try to be more Christ-like by not conforming to the pattern of this world “but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).

Read like that, ‘transformation’ sounds like a neat little package of realigning our thinking in accordance with God’s word, and enjoying the experience of his ultimate will for our lives as result. In the day-to-day of it though, that requires intention, commitment and a willingness to embrace a way of life that isn’t always easy.

If we take a leaf from Tom’s book, choosing to change your ways may mean fronting up to the fact you did wrong in the first place, and accepting the fact that it may take time for your family and friends to accept the changes (here’s hoping it doesn’t involve being chased but the FBI though).

Honest Thief is for mature audiences with a fair amount of gun violence and adult themes, however, that said, compared to some of Liam Neeson’s other movie escapades it’s an ‘action-lite’ weekend-appropriate thrill ride.

Honest Thief is in cinemas now. Rated M

Viewer discretion advised: contains gun violence and adult themes