The Hatton Garden Heist is probably the most notorious burglary of recent times. While the heist wasn’t successful, the infamous tale has been turned into a mini-series and three films. Just like the crime itself, King of Thieves crumbled under the pressure and completely missed the mark.
The film tells the story of four elderly criminals who battle their own demons whilst attempting ‘one final job’, the biggest job of them all, stealing £14m from a vault in Hatton Garden. The all-star cast cannot be accused of poor delivery, as their performances were gripping. Particularly Michael Caine as Brian Reader and Jim Broadbent as Terry Perkins; the power struggle between the two is captured perfectly by their chemistry. Michael Gambon, Ray Winstone, Paul Whitehouse and Tom Courtenay play the rest of the elderly criminal gang, all of whom have an axe to grind about something. Stereotypically, the role of group ‘techie’ Basil falls to youngster Charlie Cox.
All of the characters fit to stereotypes of the young and old. The elderly gang have eyesight problems, memory loss, diarrhoea and struggle to grasp the internet. Meanwhile Basil, the youngest accomplice, is the tech-driven kid who ‘doesn’t know what he’s doing’ in regard to committing a crime, especially in comparison to his elder counterparts. Playing on the criminals’ ages is something the film relies heavily upon; while some jokes land and will leave you laughing out loud, the drama of the crime should have been focused on more. Additionally, homophobic comments surrounding Cox’s character were unnecessary, offensive and didn’t aid to the storytelling.
The pace of the film begins relatively slow, giving some much-needed backstory to the characters. However, it loses its drive around the middle of the film. When everything seems to go wrong for the gang, the pressure does drive out some great performance from Winstone and Broadbent, who within seconds begin to combust with panic in the days leading to their eventual arrest.
Retro shots in black and white of the older actors from previous films is a nice touch to portray their characters’ previous criminal past. Clips are immediately recognisable to those who have seen the films, but even for those who haven’t it rounds the film nicely.
Golden Globe, Emmy and Ivor Novello award winner Benjamin Wallfisch produces an amazing score to the movie. Wallfisch hits all the right notes and perfectly captures the tension and emotion in different scenes. It could be argued that without Wallfisch’s score, the film might have flopped completely.
The King of Thieves is a good watch but lowering your expectations is required. With such big names and a big crime, you would expect this film to make much more of an impact than it does.
Image Credit: Movie DB.