Who would have thought that one of the most spectacular robberies in British history could be staged in such a sluggish and sedate manner, as James Marsh now does in… King of Thieves proves. We’ll reveal in our review why the film isn’t worth the price of admission.
The Plot Summary
Retirement is for retirees, at least that’s what Brian Reader (Michael Caine) thinks. His old friends are in prison, his wife is underground and the ex-crook also curses his uneventful everyday life. One last time he’s itching to prove to himself and everyone else that he’s still got it. And so, despite his age and modern technology, Brian gathers a group of old-school criminals and, together with them, undertakes a risky coup that will go down as the greatest burglary of all time in British history. But it’s much easier to get loot than to get rid of it…
Explanation of the Ending
Before director James Marsh made a name for himself among the general public (or at least among those who at least take a look at their favorite art house cinema every now and then) with his Oscar-nominated Stephen Hawking biopic “The Discovery of Infinity”, The director, who was born in Cornwell, devoted himself to staging documentaries. He was actually really successful at that; his film “Man on Wire” – a portrait of Philippe Petit, the artist who walked on a tightrope between the twin towers of the World Trade Center in the mid-1990s, and about whom Robert Zemeckis made the film “The Walk” just a few years ago – even won an Academy Award in the “Best Documentary” category. This beginning of his career, which was characterized by documentary filmmaking, has left its mark up to the present day. Marsh now directs mainly feature films; However, filmmakers still rely on true events as the basis for their stories. This applies to “The Discovery of Infinity” (we remember: Stephen Hawking) as well as to his sailing drama “Ahead of Us the Sea” with Colin Firth and now also to “King of Thieves”. So far, Marsh has always found the balance between portraits that are visibly interested in his characters and illustrations of the respective ‘true events’ aimed at entertainment. “King of Thieves” ends its triumphant march in a powerful and unpleasant way.
Brian Reader (Michael Caine), John Kenny Collins (Tom Courtenay), Carl Wood (Paul Whitehouse), Terry Perkins (Jim Broadbent) and Danny Jones (Ray Winstone).
Since James Marsh’s latest project is attempting a cinematic retelling of one of the most spectacular criminal cases in recent British history, one would first have to assume that this undoubtedly sensational anecdote about the jewelry and diamonds stolen by gangster pensioners would also be appropriately sensationalized would have to get. But puff cake! With a lot of good will, “King of Thieves” suggests something like a heist comedy with a good dash of classic crime, but it doesn’t take long for the viewer to realize that none of it really works. The film is simply far too unfunny for a comedy, and is never exciting for a crime thriller, even a thriller or just a heist film (greetings from the “Oceans” films!). In the so-called Hatton Garden robbery (named after the business district of the same name in London), not only jewelry and diamonds worth over 200 million British pounds were stolen – more than in any other raid in the United Kingdom to date. The perpetrators were also arrested a year later and seven of the eight men arrested were convicted. What’s more, they managed to get into the underground safe in a completely unconventional way; So how the hell can such an inherently exciting story end up going so badly?
Author Joe Penhall chooses narrative (“The Road”), who wrote the script based on a newspaper article about the Hatton Garden robbery, actually takes a good approach: he starts with the robbing anti-heroes and stays there until the end. A classic heist plot, except that ultimately you couldn’t care less about the characters in “King of Thieves”. The makers do give their main characters a lot of space by spending a lot of time preparing for the coup and then showing how the break-in took place. But just like the preliminary banter, which is intended to be light-hearted and light-hearted, in which you learn nothing about the characters except that they all don’t want to admit to each other that they are old news and that they are also mourning their time as gangsters. Interestingly, based on their attitude, you can’t even imagine that they all had one in them at some point, and the film also describes their stubborn attempts to get back into the robber business with no bite. Added to this are the acting performances, which are all completely boring. The fact that the characters are passionate about what “King of Thieves” wants you to believe (and what the plot is ultimately supposed to captivate you about) is nothing more than pure assertion.
Basil (Charlie Cox) and Brian scouting out the property.
Cameraman Danny Cohen packs accordingly (“Space”) the already boring scenario into dreary, unspectacular images; And the two editors Jinx Godfrey (“The Discovery of Infinity”) and Nick Moore (“Love Actually”) With its slow editing, the last bit of dynamism is removed from the film. It almost seems as if the forces responsible for visuality are always a little behind the actual story. The result is pure sluggishness, during which you constantly want to shout at the film to please finally put the pedal to the metal – or somehow get out of the funk in some other way. Last but not least, let’s take a look at the actors. These are undoubtedly well-known, but they all act so unmotivated, as if they had already lost interest in it all during filming. Michael Caine, the Alfred in Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy, sleepwalks through the story just like his colleagues with a single facial expression. He doesn’t even believe that he is mourning his late wife. And you don’t find out much more about him or the rest of the crooks’ baggage anyway. Jim Broadbent (“Paddington”)Tom Courtenay (“45 Years”)Ray Winston (“Departed – Among Enemies”) and Paul Whitehouse (“The Death of Stalin”) join in with this listlessness and at best remind you that you should watch “Ocean’s Eleven” again, but definitely not “King of Thieves” a second time.
Conclusion: James Marsh’s true-story crime comedy “King of Thieves” is neither funny nor exciting, just a sluggish, stiff and boring affair that marks a low point in the acting careers of the actors involved.
King of Thieves can be seen in USA cinemas from April 25th.