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Are they having a laugh? This true-crime cockney heist caper resembles nothing so much as a Hillman Imp getaway car with a forged MOT and a pound of Tate & Lyle in the petrol tank. It must have seemed like a good idea, and, in fact, a less starry and lower-budget film on the same subject has already been attempted.
The 2015 safety deposit box robbery in Hatton Garden, London, hilariously carried out by a bunch of geriatric criminals who tunnelled through a concrete wall, has duly been turned into an excruciating tongue-in-cheek film version with bus-pass movie icons in the leading roles.
First among equals is Michael Caine, playing top crim Brian Reader. The film represents him as basically nice, while conceding in the final reel that his character is still un-hilariously suspected in the matter of a murdered police officer. Well, it’s a tasty thespian crew: Jim Broadbent, Tom Courtenay, Michael Gambon, Paul Whitehouse and Ray Winstone. Charlie Cox plays “Basil”, the mysterious younger tech genius in charge of disabling alarms. He’s supposed to be nervous and posh, a bit like one of the “chinless wonders” who drove the minis in The Italian Job. This earns him some 70s-vintage homophobic joshing. There are serious faces behind the camera too: screenwriter Joe Penhall and director James Marsh, doing what can only be described as their less-than-finest work.
We get one or two cool touches. Broadbent is interestingly cast against type as a nasty piece of work, and I liked Winstone laughing with incredulous joy as he clambers into the Aladdin’s cave of the strongroom. But what a mess this is: not funny enough to be a comedy, not exciting enough to be a thriller, not interesting or convincing enough to have any documentary value. Stretches of boredom drag by as white-haired villains drive to DIY centres to get the equipment or squabble in boring pubs.
The job itself is bafflingly dull, though the action is occasionally interspersed with flashes of old thrillers: florid glimpses of Barry Foster and George Sewell. That’s just to tell us how sentimentally excited we’re supposed to be about this adventure. And, as the gang finally troop out of their remand cell to face the judge, there’s even an excruciating flashback clip of each actor in his glory days.
Some tough sentences and stern words from the bench are in order for everyone involved.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: King of Thieves review – Hatton Garden crew commit daylight robbery | Film