James Marsh (director)
14 September 2018 (released)
11 September 2018
The King of Thieves is another film (following The Hatton Garden Job last year) based on the robbery in April 2015 when a gang of older, experienced robbers broke into the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Company and stole cash and jewels valued at around £14 million. It was seen as one last job for the gents, and the sort that gets retired Flying Squad officers over-excited and on TV.
The cast is similarly experienced Michael Caine, Tom Courtney, Jim Broadbent, Michael Gambon, Ray Winstone, Paul Whitehouse, and Charlie Cox, and one couldn’t really ask for a better one. However, you then have to do something with them and that’s what director James Marsh has singularly failed to do.
The film follows the usual tropes of the idea (Supplied by the very odd Basil played by Charlie Cox), getting the gang together, plotting and execution. Unfortunately, there’s precious little chemistry between the actors, who look as if they are talking at each other, rather than to.
It doesn’t help that they are served by a poor script that can’t decide if this should be biased towards the comedic. The gang head Brian Reader played by Michael Caine clearly has a darker edge to his personality and doesn’t sit convincingly with some of others in particular Tom Courtney’s Terry Perkins.
As such we are subjected to torrents of swearing to fill in the gaps and the distinct feeling that none of them are very comfortable with it.
The mechanics and the sheer audacity of the robbery are well done and the bitter aftermath is one of the stronger elements of the film, as is the role of the police.
They are kept in the background silently investigating and putting together the pieces of the burglary. There’s very little dialogue between them which serves to concentrate on their procedures and get the job done.
This isn’t a caper movie as none of the characters are in any way likeable, based as it is on career and hardened criminals. But then neither is it much of a heist film as there is no palpable tension about the robbery. So it falls to the cast to see it through and to be fair these aren’t bad performances, they just appear ill at ease with everything that they have been asked to do.