Friday, 19 October 2018

King of Thieves: Film Review

King of Thieves: Film Review

Cast: Michael Caine, Tom Courtenay, Charlie Cox, Jim Broadbent, Ray Winstone, Paul Whitehouse
Director: James Marsh

As much a film about the fallout of a heist, than the execution thereof, the based-on-a-true-story King Of Thieves feels like a proposition that was better on the drawing board than on the screen.
King of Thieves: Film Review

Michael Caine is 77 year old widower Brian Reader, a former criminal who's urged by his wife to leave it all behind before her death. However, finding that there's nothing to live for, Reader pulls together a crew of former crims after he's approached by Basil (Daredevil star Cox) with a plan to rob the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit....

The thing with King Of Thieves is that it all unfurls in such a pedestrian way.

Underscored by scenes of jazzy music and digital cuts and quick cuts, the film's initially all about the subterfuge rather than anything else. It's not exactly an OAP version of the Ocean's Eleven series, but at times, it comes pretty close, thanks to a combination of one-note characters and a lack of real tension.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the back half of the film where it literally becomes about the audience watching cops listening to bugged conversations. Any sense of suspense dissipates at this stage as the big band music strikes up and the inevitable tears and fractures open up within the group.

A series of swipes at older people and their quirks seem a little more unfair towards the end and the characters simply end up shouting at each other, but Reader's earlier mournful tone as he reflects on his life is given nuanced life by Caine.
King of Thieves: Film Review

Most interestingly, Broadbent shows a crueller side oft kept buried and really plays against type - the rest of the crew are underwritten and do what they can with one-note performances. No more so than Cox whose enigma is clearly due to his character arc rather than writing (to say more is to spoil).

The one directorial flourish that Marsh brings to the table is an end sequence which displays the likes of Caine and Winstone from previous films and is a clever way to showcase their former worth.

Elsewhere, King Of Thieves may have its eye on diamonds as its central theme, but this ain't no shiner at all - it's dulled by the execution and what promised to be something different and cater to an older audience emerges as a rote formulaic and dull film that fizzles rather than sizzles.

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