As I walk the navy-carpeted floors of the Windsor theatre, with its cream walls and off-olive green curtains, I am transported back to the forties. This art-deco palace seems a fitting place for the film’s pre-release screening, with the venue full of just as much character as the movie’s cast.
Old black and white footage of banking heists flicker across the screen as the film begins. This is contrasted with current-day scenes of Brian Reader, played by the legendary Michael Caine, making bars of gold: “The problem with gold,” he says, “is the effect it has on people—it drives them crazy.”
I don’t believe that Michael Caine could ever disappoint. He certainly did not as Alfred in Batman, nor Cutter in The Prestige, Arthur in the Kingsmen, or as the infamous Harry Brown. Caine’s unquestionable charm is something that has always bedazzled me—and this was no different in King of Thieves.
Also starring Jim Broadbent, Tom Courtenay, Charlie Cox, Michael Gambon and Ray Winstone, King of Thieves is both incredibly dark, and humorous. It tells the true story of the Hatton Garden robbery—the most daring, and largest, heist in British legal history.
The film follows a crew of retired criminals who—outraged at the cards life has dealt them—have decided to do one last heist. Joined by a timid young-gun, Basil (Charlie Cox), the team plot the biggest heist in their country’s history—and they almost pull it off too.
Although they manage to get away with some 200 million pounds (around 366 million Australian dollars), greed and old grudges get in the way. What originally looked like a crisp escape plan, crumbles around the gang as Police ramp up their investigation.
While the film was incredibly funny, and in no shortage of outrageous scenes – with one of the first being Collins and Jones blowing shit up with roman candles—it felt very anticlimactic, and to be honest, it dragged on for a bit too long. Much to my dismay, I spent the better part of two hours waiting for a climax that never came.
Lucky for the writers, the stellar performance of our main cast—filled with wit, passion and gusto—made the movie. The raw emotion of anger, and the sheer fear of becoming irrelevant, was so powerfully displayed by Caine and Broadbent, that I found myself confronted—at the peachy age of twenty-six—with my own thoughts of growing older.
Despite the actors’ ability to evoke such strong emotions, the film lacked excitement. It’s as if the cast was let down by the plot, and with all of the exceptional talent between them, I just expected more. While the powerful story of resentment towards being old and our fear of being left behind was the main course, the heist itself was just kind of there, sitting on the edge of your plate like an unnecessary garnish.
King of Thieves was solid, but by no means a stand out. Sadly, for me, there just wasn’t enough to blow the bloody doors off.
King of Thieves is out in selected Perth cinemas now.