Small Screen Reviews
King Of Thieves Review
What’s It About?
The true story of a group of retired crooks who took on a major heist in 2015 in Hatton Garden, London’s main jewellery distict.
Who’s In It?
Sir Michael Caine (Get Carter, The Italian Job, The Dark Knight, & more recently Going In Style)
Sir Tom Courtenay (Doctor Zhivago, 45 Years, & more recently The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society)
Ray Winstone (Sexy Beast, the Departed, & more recently Point Break)
Other notables include:
Sir Michael Gambon (Harry Potter films, The King’s Speech, & more recently Kingsman: The Golden Circle)
Paul Whitehouse (The Fast Show, Alice Through The Looking Glass, & more recently The Death Of Stalin)
Jim Broadbent (Another Year, Paddington 1-2, & more recently Game Of Thrones)
Director: James Marsh (Project Nim, The Theory Of Everything & more recently The Mercy)
The Hatton Garden job back in Easter 2015 was a truly remarkable heist - the daring, the execution and the eye watering amounts stolen – anything from £10m to £200m by all accounts.
But the main thing the press and indeed the public latched onto was the fact that the criminals were pensioners between 60 and 80. As a result the story has been turned into books, a mini series and several films, with King Of Thieves being the latest of them, and with the biggest budget and most impressive cast. The roster certainly reads like a night out at Buckingham Palace with Sir Tom Courtenay, Sir Michael Caine, Sir Michael Caine, as well as Cockney royalty in the form of Ray Winstone. Lesser individuals include Jim Broadbent, Paul Whitehouse and Charlie Cox.
The story is pretty simple, with Caine playing the ringleader Brian Reader, who plans the job with Basil, before bringing in some previous accomplices to complete the heist. The crew, despite their age, drilled through several vault walls underground from a lift shaft over the Easter bank holiday, to break into the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Company’s underground safe. The job itself was a remarkable success, though no one really knows how much was actually stolen, before the police started to make arrests.
And like the heist, the cast itself is truly exceptional. A who’s who of British acting royalty. And as a result their camaraderie and chemistry is second to none, with Caine as a man pained with the loss of his wife, Gambon as an incontinent and doddery fence, Courtenay as a duplicitous schemer, Winstone as a firebrand, Whitehouse as a penniless joker, and most interesting of all, Broadbent as a thoroughly unpleasant and sinister individual.
Although the actors are first rate, however, the script is not and lacks any real characterisation or expansion of the characters. Police running through the files of the cons to explain their past would have been much better served by showing these characters and their behaviour via flashbacks. The only real hint of this is via an ill advised montage of the actors themselves from previous films of theirs, which really doesn’t work. Without a lack of understanding for their characters, or any real empathy, it is therefore very difficult to get behind them, or view the film therefore as anything other than a bog standard heist.
In A Nutshell:
An incredible cast in a remarkable heist story, but the real crime here is the weak script and limited characterisation.
Jim Broadbent’s sinister turn
The ill advised montage
Release date: 21/01/2019