Netflix and TriBeCa Productions bring us the four-part documentary series ‘This Is a Robbery: The World’s Greatest Art Heist.’ It covers the 1990 unsolved robbery of Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and is directed by Colin Barnicle.
In May 1990, two men disguised as Boston police officers rang the backdoor of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and were buzzed in by the on-duty security guard. They told him “This is a robbery” before tying him up with duct tape, placed him in the basement, and stole 13 pieces totaling half a billion dollars worth of priceless art. The thieves took security tapes and motion sensor printouts before leaving. No one knew anything was amiss until the next shift arrived the next morning. To this day, no one knows who stole them and the artwork has never been recovered.
As far as filmmaking, it is pretty well-made. The documentary opens with a brief history of the museum, the art pieces that it features, and its connection to the city of Boston before discussing the crime itself. It has excellent reenactments to show how the crime happened, how the perpetrators moved the pieces out of their places, and the way they disabled the security.
I do feel that the episodes lingered too long on certain theories. For instance, one of the angles law enforcement investigated was whether someone in the Boston mob was involved to get funds for the IRA terrorist group. They talked to an expert who consistently denied this, but they lingered on this theory just a little too long.
Now, the story itself is very compelling. Whoever was behind the crime probably watched and had a good time. It was intriguing the questions being asked. Was it the mafia? Was it a random theft? Was it part of a larger art scheme? Was it an inside job? Whatever the case may be, I did enjoy watching and navigating the case as it is presented.
Check out the trailer below:
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Some minor language
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. Tell me if there is a comic book, movie, or novel you would like me to review. While you are at it, check out my reviews of documentaries Murder Among The Mormons and Allen v. Farrow. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.