Lift: Netflix’s Distrusting Heist Film Takes on the Art World and the One Percent

VENICE, ITALY – Netflix’s latest heist film, “Lift,” takes viewers into the world of a crew of tech geniuses and masters of disguise who see themselves as cultural Robin Hoods. Led by their stoic chief, Cyrus (Kevin Hart), the team aims to steal fine works from the wealthy in an upcoming art auction in Venice. Directed by F. Gary Gray, the film showcases the crew’s attempt to take from the rich, line their pockets, and help the artists.

The film opens with Cyrus confidently making his way to the auction venue, a building of imposing beauty. The scene is set amidst a garish Venice, with bright lights illuminating every surface. However, the film fails to maintain the intrigue it initially sets up, as it quickly reveals every detail rather than allowing for suspense. Cyrus and his team successfully steal an NFT artwork and also kidnap the artist N8 (Jacob Batalon). The abduction creates an international uproar, offering the opportunity to comment on the art world’s reliance on hype, but the film misses the mark.

As the story progresses, Interpol agent Abby (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) enters the picture, leading a team tasked with apprehending Cyrus and his crew. Abby is forced to recruit Cyrus’ crew to assist her in capturing a billionaire named Jorgenson who plans to cause mass flooding through hacking. Along the way, it is revealed that Abby and Cyrus have a complicated history, adding an extra layer of tension.

However, the chemistry between Hart and Mbatha-Raw feels mismatched, and the screenplay fails to develop their relationship effectively. Hart’s performance as Cyrus lacks the natural playfulness needed for the character. Despite these shortcomings, the film gains momentum as the crew plans and executes their biggest heist yet: retrieving gold from a plane and exposing Jorgenson to the authorities.

While the film’s technology veers toward the unrealistic, director F. Gary Gray successfully injects a sense of urgency into the heist scenes. The rush of scheming brings some much-needed excitement to the film. Ultimately, though, “Lift” falls short of its potential, failing to live up to its promising premise.

“Lift,” directed by F. Gary Gray and starring Kevin Hart and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, delves into the world of a crew of tech-savvy thieves who aim to steal from the rich and help the artists. Despite its initial promise, the film suffers from a lackluster script and mismatched performances, failing to sustain the intrigue it establishes. However, it does offer some thrilling heist sequences that add minor excitement to the storyline. “Lift” is an hour and 44 minutes long and rated PG-13.