Posted Sep 14 2018

King Of Thieves - This Movie Doesn't Rock The Ages. Or The Aged

Dir: James Marsh

Starring Michael Caine, Michael Gambon, Jim Broadbent, Tom Courtenay, Ray Winstone, Charlie Cox, Paul Whitehouse

There’s a lot of charm in King Of Thieves. With these actors, going through what looks a lot like a victory lap at times – what’s not to like? But ultimately, much like the real story it is based on, it turns out not to be quite as interesting as it first appeared.

This is the geezer robbery of Hatton Garden from 2015, when a bunch of old lags pulled off what was more than likely the biggest robbery in UK history. Caine, who is almost ridiculously splendid here (and he knows it!), is the erstwhile leader of a bunch that includes such gems as a vulnerable but duplicitous Courtenay, an avuncular Broadbent (loving the opportunity to give it some nasty), a rather unreliable Gambon (was once going to be the next James Bond you know), Winstone knowing when to large it and the always great Paul Whitehouse – knowing when to “small” it.

They’re an eminently watchable bunch of blokes, and, to his credit, Marsh knows how to play each to their skills and in the first half hour or so – the planning of the heist – he keeps things moving splendidly and gets the best from his cast.

But then they commit the crime, and – much like it did in real life – things get a bit shitty after that.  The cops seem to be onto them from the off. The double dealing is obvious and heavy handed. Charlie Cox’s “Basil” – the only enigma in this lack of mystery is curiously avoided for the most part, and the obvious plays out. Obviously. Oh, and the word “tension” is clearly in hiding.

It’s impossible not to watch this bunch of men enjoying playing together and not take some joy from it. And, in something of a stylistic coup, right at the end, Marsh shows us them in their prime – cue shots of Harry Palmer, Scum and Whitehouse from (possibly) The Fast Show (which is not as odd as it sounds.) It’s a move that plays to the film’s strongest elements – whilst ignoring the fact it’s not that strong a film.


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