Worcester gets plenty of screen time in Liam Neeson movie ‘Honest Thief’ – News – telegram.com

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Worcester gets plenty of screen time in Liam Neeson movie ‘Honest Thief’ – News – telegram.com

In the closing credits of the new Liam Neeson action flick “Honest Thief,” opening Friday at the Blackstone Valley 14 Cinema de Lux in Millbury, the city of Worcester receives “special thanks.”

After seeing the movie, Central Mass. cinephiles might be wondering why Worcester didn’t get second billing after the 68-year-old action star.

Filmed in Worcester in November 2018, “Honest Thief” is a typical Liam Neeson project. He plays a man with “a very particular set of skills” who goes to great length to clear his name and make things right. It’s an enjoyable enough popcorn flick, and Worcester residents will get added kick out of Worcester’s screen time. And there’s plenty of it.

During the opening credits of “Honest Thief,” Neeson’s character is seen pulling off a bank heist, while audio of news reports of the elusive “In and Out Bandit” are heard in the background. The scene was most likely shot in the bowels of Worcester Memorial Auditorium, which was refitted to look like a humongous bank safe.

Moving from place to place to elude capture, Tom Carter (Neeson) needs a place to store his $9 million in cash he has accumulated from 12 bank robberies in seven states, so he goes to Aurora Self Storage (which, in reality, is Life Storage, 90 Main St., Oxford) and meets Annie (Kate Walsh of “Grey’s Anatomy” fame), a Boston College grad student with three semesters to go for a psychology degree and who recently went through a messy divorce.

The two flirt about homemade cookies and “smelly” storage units. One year later, Cater asks Annie to move in with him. If it wasn’t for the initial safe-cracking scene, “Honest Thief” would appear to be the makings of an age-appropriate love story, although Annie often dresses like a teenager.

At the 9-minute, 22-second mark is the first exterior glimpse of Worcester. Overlooking Front Street, the camera focuses on the AC Hotel by Marriott Worcester, 125 Front St., with 145 Front at City Square apartments to the left, and 110 Grill, and People’s United Bank. Past that, you can catch a glimpse of the Worcester Common, City Hall and across Main Street, and the Worcester Plaza glass tower.

Although renamed the Charleston Hotel, the AC Hotel is where most of the action takes place, including the best scene in the movie. Staying in Room 216, Neeson’s character calls the FBI to confess all his sins and cut a deal.

“I hand over all the money I stole, every penny, in exchange of a reduced sentence, no more than two years in minimum security within an hour from Boston with full visitation rights,” the bank robber says. “I met a woman. She’s smart, caring, driven, funny. I adore every bit of her. I want to be with her for the rest of my days, without feeling guilty about lying to her about my past indiscretions … And she means more to me than all the dollar bills in the world.”

At the 15-minute mark, FBI Special Agents John Nivens and Ramon Hall (Jai Courtney of “Suicide Squad” and Anthony Ramos of “Hamilton” fame) come knocking on Carter’s door.

Telling his story, Neeson’s character, with Worcester City Hall clearly behind him, watches a money drop being made at the Bay State Savings Bank at 32 Franklin St.

The FBI agents think Carter’s a crackpot, so he reluctantly gives them the key to Unit 173 at Aurora Self Storage for them to check it out. They discover the loot and confiscate it, not as evidence, but for their personal retirement fund. As they bring it to a “safe house,” a brick three-decker at 9 Castle St. (which, in real life, is the home of the Regional Environmental Council), Neeson’s character, back in his hotel room, realizes he has been double-crossed.

At the 27-minute, 30-second mark, the two greedy FBI agents come back to the hotel to tie up loose ends. Also in tow are Annie, who’s parked outside the hotel (behind her, Christmas decorations can be seen along Front Street) and the agents’ superior, Sam Baker (Robert Patrick, best known as the T-1000 in “Terminator 2: Judgment Day”), who knocks on the door.

At the 30-minute mark, Neeson’s character tackles Special Agent Nivens and the two go flying out of a three-story window of the hotel and fall to the street below. Carter punches the FBI special agent before fleeing with Annie in a Jeep Cherokee toward Washington Square. A high-speed car chase ensues, in which the DCU Center and St. Vincent Hospital are clearly visible.

In hot pursuit, Agents Nivens and Hall go barreling up Foster Street past the George Washington mural. They cross Main Street, where you can clearly see TD Bank at the Guaranty Building on the left and Spoodles Deli at the Commerce Building on the right, and go up Maple Street.

At the 32-minute, 31-second mark, Agent Nivens looks for the fugitives in a dingy alleyway (Walnut Place). Shortly thereafter, his partner picks him up on Walnut Street, and Mechanics Hall is visible in the background.

Carter and Annie hide out on the Level 4 of the Union Station parking garage until the coast is clear. Carter hot wires a car. They two drive underneath the Providence-Worcester Railroad Bridge overlooking Washington Square.

At the 36-minute, 30-second mark, Neeson’s character spills the beans about his past to Annie at Elm Park. Behind them, you can clearly see the wooden bridge in the center of the park and the former Fire Alarm & Telegraph Building at 230 Park Ave., now the home of Cornerstone Bank and the Park View Room.

Back at the hotel, FBI Special Agent Sean Meyers (Jeffrey Donavan of “Burnt Notice”) begins to investigating the case. Near the 43-minute mark, we see the AC Hotel lobby as a body is taken out of the hotel. Shortly after, Neeson’s character brings Annie to Union Station and she hops on a Greyhound (or so it seems).

At the 46-minute mark, Neeson’s character is parked in front of Markos Jewelers at 371 Main St., with the “CASH FOR GOLD” neon sign in the storefront window. He walks down Main Street, with Mechanics Hall behind him. He crosses Exchange Street and momentarily hides in the doorway of the Rice Violet restaurant at 287 Main St. before driving off in his second stolen vehicle, a Churchill’s Baked Goods delivery van.

At the 52-minute mark, Neeson’s character barrels into the emergency room at UMass Memorial Medical Center – Memorial Campus, on Belmont Street.

While the two dirty agents are parked in front of CVS Pharmacy on Front Street, they receive a call from the bank robber and he delivers the movie’s catchphrase, “Agent Nivens, I’m coming from you.”

Around the 55-minute mark, the bakery van is driven past All Saints Church at Pleasant and Irving streets. The van is spotted by a cop in a Boston police cruiser and a hot chase ensues up Salisbury Street. The dirty FBI agents speed down Commercial Street, past the Mercantile Center parking lot and take a right on Foster Street, which is actually taking them in the wrong direction.

At the 56-minute mark, the police cruiser gets sideswiped by another car at Salisbury and Lancaster streets, near the Worcester Art Museum.

Fifteen seconds later, Neeson’s character is driving on Russell Street and takes a left on Williams Street and parks in a driveway until the heat is off. He spots the dirty Feds and backs up into their car at full speed. Throughout the scene, Becker College’s Lotus Southgate House, 84 Williams St., is clearly seen.

Around the 58-minute mark, Agent Meyers, who is still in the dark about the truth, is in hot pursuit of Neeson’s character, who is seen running past the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone (“1-800-WIN-WIN-1”) at Main and Federal streets.

Meyers whips his car around the Harold D. Donohue Federal Building and United States Courthouse next to the Hanover Theatre. The agent takes a right into the alley before the Federal Plaza Garage at 570 Main St. Neeson’s character is seen jumping a chain-link fence.

With weapon drawn, Agent Meyers goes up the steps of the Cathedral of Saint Paul on the Chatham Street side, with a great view of the Great Wall and Alpha Travel across the street.

Neeson’s character gets the jump on the agent and there is a scuffle. After telling the agent the truth, the robber gets away. He steals his third and final vehicle, a white Ford pickup truck, from the top floor of Federal Plaza Garage, with the Cathedral of Saint Paul visible in the background.

After a massive shootout at the safe house, Agent Nivens flees and comes out the Ernest A. Johnson Tunnel under Lincoln Square. Visible on the left are the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences University dorms and classrooms and the Wesley Methodist Church, First Unitarian Church and the old courthouse on the right.

So do Tom and Annie live happily ever after in Worcester? See the movie to find out. 

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