Lift by F. Gary Gray is streaming on Netflix, and it boasts a great cast, which is perhaps the reason you gave the film a chance. Now, the film doesn’t have the freshness that one expects from a Gray film, nor is there any intent to produce a mind-bending heist thriller. So what are we left with then? Another ‘international project’ Netflix film where talents from around the globe are hired to ‘mix’ things up, and one can identify their regional performers and hoot for them if one isn’t not getting engaged by the plot. But I don’t think movies work like that. It’s not a spectator sport where one can cheer for favorite players. It’s music; the melody, the notes, the crescendo, and all that very nuanced stuff has to work for us to enjoy the piece. But let’s say this particular film is like a ‘heist’ sport; then we do get some heavy hitters: Kevin Hart, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Vincent D’Onofrio, and many others. And that is perhaps the reason one can get sucked into watching this film, which is, for all practical purposes, pretty skippable.
Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?
Cyrus is a brilliant art thief who ‘lifts’ art thanks to all the help offered by his diverse and brilliant crew. There are Mi Sun, Camila, Magnus, Luke, and Denton on his team, and they all seem to have their own areas of expertise. Cyrus once had a brush with an Interpol agent, a woman named Abby Gladwell. Things went a little south once Gladwell, who worked in the art department of Interpol, found out that Cyrus was essentially a criminal. Cyrus doesn’t give off the vibe that one would associate with a hardcore criminal. He sees himself more as an art lover who likes to take away precious works of art from people who don’t deserve them. Things take an interesting turn when Gladwell’s superior, Huxley, orders her to contact Cyrus for a heist to stop a feared man named Lars Jorgensen.
Why Couldn’t Cyrus Say No To The Deal?
Cyrus had done a lot of ‘lifts’ in the past but had stayed away from the clutches of Interpol, but the latest one got him into trouble. His plan was to kidnap N8, an NFT artist, so that his art would get a lot of publicity and its market price would rise. Cyrus had already played the whole game of bidding on the NFTs as if he were legitimately buying them; Cyrus had bought low and sold high. But Gladwell caught Denton, and their plan was busted. He was clean on the N8 and NFT plans, but they had paid the 20 million dollars (the bidding amount for the N8’s NFT) by stealing a Van Gogh painting in London. Gladwell had him there, for Denton had spilled all the beans, and Marcus and Luke were in London at the time of the theft.
Gladwell had been told by Huxley that Jorgensen had made a deal with a hacker group called Leviathan to cause water-related issues, which helped Jorgensen capitalize on the crisis. Arthur Tigue, the man working for Huxley in Jorgensen’s group, died, but not before he made Huxley aware of the half a billion dollars worth of gold getting moved from London to Zurich, which was the exact payment for Leviathan. Cyrus was offered a clean slate, but he had to get the gold off the plane to Huxley. He couldn’t really refuse, as Gladwell could put him and his crew in jail for the Van Gogh heist in London. Cyrus was smart; hence, he asked Gladwell to be part of the Jorgensen heist. He never trusted Huxley, and he thought that having one of Interpol’s own could increase the chance of getting away safely.
Why Did The Team Need To Contact Harry?
The plan concocted by Cyrus was a little absurd, but it was the only way to get the gold. A private jet was to move under the passenger plane where the gold was kept. Then the radar signatures would be swapped, and the private jet would deploy a drone en route to Tuscany, mimicking the passenger plane’s original course of action, only to fool Jorgensen. Cyrus and his team would land the passenger plane and bring the gold to Huxley. But there was a problem. Mi Sun, the hacker in the crew, pointed out that the passenger plane was going to be monitored by Brussels Air Traffic Control, and the technology available wasn’t enough to pull off the plane swap. Somebody in Brussels had to ensure that the ‘glitch’ of having two planes flying in dangerously close proximity could be passed off as just that—a glitch. Gladwell knew a man named Harry, who worked in Brussels Air Traffic Control. He was an informant once, but he had to be promised a million bucks to help the heist go as planned.
How Did Cyrus ‘Lift’ The Gold?
Leviathan proved their mettle by causing a flood in Madrid, convincing both Jorgensen and Cyrus that they were the real thing. Cyrus ensured that the plan worked smoothly, but he didn’t know that Tigue had been found dead. When he did, his natural reaction was to back out. Also, after the Madrid Flood, the exchange between Jorgensen and Leviathan was going down 10 days earlier. Cyrus wasn’t prepared for that, but Huxley gave him no choice. A desperate Cyrus had to come up with a plan to counter the high-handed approach by Huxley.
There seemed to be a problem at the very beginning of the heist. Luke, the scientist who had used N8’s NFT to create a private plane boasting a cockpit where the pilot would have access to a 360-degree view, decided to opt out of this very dangerous mission. The device that was going to be used for the swapping of the two planes’ radar signatures had to be assembled near the cockpit, which Gladwell managed to do just in time, although it was Harry who saved the day by explaining the ‘glitch’ of the two planes flying side by side. The real problem is that Jorgensen’s men were onto Cyrus. The passenger plane was masterfully guided to land on an abandoned runway, but Cyrus and Gladwell were captured by Jorgensen’s men. Magnus had broken into the vault and got to the gold, but everything seemed kaput as the gold was transferred in the private jet, and Jorgensen’s right-hand man, Cormac, decided to fly the jet to Jorgensen’s estate in Tuscany. Leviathan’s leader had come to meet him for the exchange, and they both waited impatiently for the gold to arrive. Meanwhile, Huxley was also impatiently waiting for the gold, but it wasn’t going to come. He received the news that the jet was hijacked by Jorgensen’s men, and he decided to use NATO’s help to shoot down the plane, not caring about Cyrus or Gladwell, for that matter. Thanks to Camila, the NATO fighter jets were informed that there were civilians on board and the jet wasn’t shot down. Cyrus and Gladwell managed to defeat Corman and the other henchmen but had to land near Jorgensen’s estate.
During the ending of Lift, Leviathan’s leader backed out the moment she figured that Interpol was already aware of the transaction, and now Gladwell had seen her face as well. Frustrated, Jorgensen shot the woman dead, and Italian police arrived to arrest him. The jet was basically turned into a camera by Luke, and it had the recording of Jorgensen shooting the woman. Gladwell resigned after knowing that Huxley had given the green light to kill her. Gladwell thought that living with Cyrus was a better deal after all. But it was the best deal, as he had the gold. He had deliberately kept Luke out of the heist because he had been given the most important job of all: to land the gold in a safe location using his drones. You see, Magnus had broken into the vault and replaced the gold with gold-plated iron bars, and he had thrown the gold out of the plane, and Luke had maneuvered it to fall into a river, so that it could be recovered later by the crew. Huxley thought he had the gold, but Cyrus’ genius had prevailed. Huxley would certainly not wipe Cyrus’ slate clean after this, but Cyrus had Gladwell by his side and all the money in the world, and he would never commit a crime again.