In David Mamet's twisty thriller Heist, Joe Moore (played by Gene Hackman) has a sophisticated plan to get away with the loot rather than splitting it with Mickey Bergman who has reneged on previous deals.

Near the end, most of Bergman's men are killed in a shoot out. But not before Joe's wife is led away by Bergman's nephew having apparently done a deal to tell Bergman where the loot is.

In the final scene it looks like Joe has got away only for the nephew and Joe's wife to catch him at the last minute but, again, Joe gets to live because his wife has, apparently, done a deal with Bergman's nephew. But Joe has double crossed them again. Then the movie ends.

Did his wife know of the final double (or was that a higher multiple) cross?


To me it seemed that at the end only Joe alone knows that he has the gold. His wife had made a deal with Jimmy (Bergman's nephew). And not only that, she says:

You're the one who sent me to him. You shouldn't have sent me to him.

Revealing that she has an affair with Jimmy and is about to leave Joe for him. I think he hoped for Fran to stand by him, but still prepared for her possible betrayal.

There wasn't anything for me to hint at his wife being aware that he leaves with (at least part of) the gold. While the movie sure didn't run short of twists and double crosses, it has nevertheless always made those twists obvious when they occured and to me there wasn't any doubt in the fact that Fran had switched sides to Jimmy. She didn't want Joe to die, but she sure wanted to leave with Jimmy and the gold. Without the slightest hint of her knowing about Joe's double cross (or maybe even double crossing Jimmy herself) I don't have a reason to believe in that.

(While I admit that it is not 100% clear if she wasn't aware of Joe having part of the gold, we are bound to go by what the movie tells us. We cannot see what happened after the movie but what happened during it at least doesn't raise a doubt in me that she was unaware.)

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  • Initially I did not think she was in on it, because I couldn't see why Joe and Fran would they go to such elaborate lengths. – Matt Brenneman Jan 19 at 3:19

I thought there was some evidence that she's in on the plan. She says: "Cute plan though" He replies: "Cute as a Chinese baby" She looks at him and nods with lingering eye contact. I think Chinese baby could be a code word for another rendezvous point or something. That said it's not totally obvious.

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I have to admit I was left with some lingering doubt whether Fran was in on it at the end of the movie but I think it's unlikely. First, what would be the point of such an elaborate scheme? You might think Fran pulled this to insure Jimmy (who in the movie is made out to be connected) takes the fatwa off of Joe, but after Jimmy finds out he was duped, he'd be right back after Joe. Second, Hackman's facial expressions seem to suggest he realizes she is gone. When he leaves the boat after the shootout he has a weird look on his face: it's like he's hoping she'll come back but he knows she won't. Who knows, maybe Joe even set the whole thing up to test her. If you remember the opening scene of the movie, Delroy Lindos character comments that he thinks love makes the world go around and Hackman agrees and adds "love of gold". Maybe he was testing these 2 hypotheses

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