King of Thieves

"You're only supposed to blow the bloody doors off"
Verdict: 
7/10 - Not a cinema classic, but King of Thieves filmaker James Marsh and the cast of veteran stars do a nice job retelling the story of the Hatton Garden safe deposit burglary.
Release Date: 
Friday, September 14, 2018
Written by: 

When a group of coffin-dodging criminals decide to rob Hatton Garden safe deposit, they find getting through the thick concrete walls is the easy bit.

7

If you thought you'd seen the last of Michael Caine with mounds of gold bars, think again. He is back to his scoundrel best in King of Thieves, a film recounting the story of the Hatton Garden safe deposit burglary in 2015.

Caine plays pensioner Brian Reader, who, after losing his wife, is confronted with a silent house, and no one to keep him on the straight and narrow.

Following a visit from a young acquaintance, who he calls Basil (Charlie Cox), Brian finds himself planning one of the most audacious heists of his, or any criminal's career, - robbing the communal safe underneath London's famous jewellery district over the 2015 Easter weekend.

Working with his old - old being the operative word - cronies Terry Perkins (Jim Broadbent), John "Kenny" Collins (Tom Courtenay), Danny Jones (a perfectly cast Ray Winstone) and Carl Wood (Paul Whitehouse), the fivesome meticulously plan the break-in, aided by Basil's 'friend of a friend', who has the key that will let them in the front door.

Although the crew's numbers dwindle as the weekend robbery goes on, those still left standing after they've bored through concrete walls make off with £200 million in cash, diamonds and jewellery.

But in an age of CCTV having eyes on everything, getting away with a crime is not as simple as it was back in the good old days, and after police first wrongly assume a group of younger, less English thieves are behind the heist, the elderly gents are swiftly rounded up and placed in handcuffs, but not before they set about backstabbing and colluding against each other.

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Director James Marsh's film zips around nicely, especially the slick opening scenes, which fuses together old news footage into the storyline, giving you a real feel for these coffin-dodging criminals. Adding clips of the cast as young men is also a nice touch.

The pace dips somewhat after the heist - which isn't the most nail-biting of robberies anyway - is done and dusted, but picks up again towards the end, meaning cinemagoers won't feel short-changed - though there may be a few watch glances as the script drags on.

Some of the dialogue - especially the jokes - falls flat, but the top-notch cast, which also includes Michael Gambon as Billy 'The Fish' Lincoln, a decrepit associate of Kenny's, tasked with storing the loot until it's safe to divvy it up, makes the majority of the flick not just watchable, but enjoyable.

While The Theory of Everything director Marsh won't be winning any major awards for his latest effort, he should be applauded for rounding up this group of veteran actors, who were all born to play these roles.

Each one of the cinema stalwarts must have felt their ears burning as details of the OAP 2015 burglary started to make the news.

Not quite a comedy or a thriller, King of Thieves competently recounts a less than glamorous robbery with an impressive cast and soundtrack.

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