Thief: Limited Edition review

Feature-packed release steals the crown as Michael Mann's finest hi-def outing

Director Michael Mann's feature film debut stars James Caan as Frank, a career thief whose plan to retire and make a fresh start hits a serious hurdle when he gets mixed up with the Chicago Mafia. Smart, stylish and intense, Thief remains one of Mann's finest films, not to mention one of the greatest American crime movies ever made.

Picture: Like George Lucas, Michael Mann just can't stop tinkering with his older material. Manhunter, The Last of the Mohicans and Heat have all been subject to tweaks over the years – and Thief is no exception.

Having added a scene and made some other minor changes when the film hit LaserDisc in 1995, Mann used the new 4K restoration that served as the basis for last year's Criterion Blu-ray as an excuse for further tweaks – most notably a heavy blue tint that gives this Director's Cut more of a neo-noir aesthetic (see below) that has divided opinion among fans.

Whatever your thoughts on the new colour grading, the 4K restoration itself (which is also the basis for this Arrow release) is a thing of beauty, offering excellent clarity and an authentically film-like appearance.

For those who aren't so keen, Arrow has included a second BD platter in this Limited Edition release housing a 1080p presentation of the original theatrical cut (above right). While the transfer doesn't hold a candle to the 4K restoration, it makes for a fascinating comparison and will prove perfectly acceptable to those who prefer Mann's original version.
Picture rating: 4.4/5

Director's Cut

Theatrical Cut

Audio: This set provides DTS-HD MA 5.1 and LPCM stereo options for the Director's Cut, and an LPCM stereo mix for the Theatrical Cut. All three tracks are exceptionally clear, but the 5.1 remix does a particularly effective job of opening up the soundstage and bringing greater range to the fabulous Tangerine Dream score.
Audio rating: 4/5

Extras: Not content with offering two versions of the film, Arrow has packed this BD release with extras. There's a chat-track featuring the director and star, a 14-minute interview with Caan, a 2001 US TV documentary about Mann's career and much more.
Extras rating: 5/5

We say: Don't miss out on this definitive Blu-ray edition of Michael Mann's superb feature film debut

Thief: Limited Edition, Arrow Video, Region B BD, £28 Approx