Smash and Grab: The Story of the Pink Panthers.
Inspector Clouseau is nowhere to be found, but there's many a Pink Panther on the loose in "Smash and Grab," a gripping portrait of the daring international jewel-theft ring credited with more than 150 robberies totaling more than $250 million since 1993. Deftly weaving clandestine interviews with actual Panthers, spectacular surveillance video of their handiwork, and animated dramatizations to fill in the gaps, "Afghan Star" director Havana Marking's imaginatively made docu couldn't have arrived in theaters at a more opportune moment, with the Panthers back in the headlines again following last month's brazen $53 million diamond heist at the Carlton Intercontinental Hotel in Cannes. That alone should ensure "Smash and Grab" arthouse bookings beyond its current single-screen Gotham run.
For much of its running time, the docu narrows its focus to two principal subjects: "Mike" (voiced by musician Tomislav Benzon) and "Lela" (Jasmin Topalusic), the latter of whom (now retired from the trade) speaks at length about the important role of women in the Panther organization, especially when it comes to casing potential targets, as they are less likely to arouse suspicion than their male counterparts.
DIRECTOR: Havana Marking
CAST: Jasmin Topalusic, Tomislav Benzon, Daniel Vivian, Rob Kennedy, Farioa Al Shamali, Bozidar Spasic, Herve Conan, Yan Glassey. Voices: Tomislav Benzon, Jasmin Topalusic