King of Thieves: A Cockney London heist film with a diamond cast
A story about the infamous burglary which took place over the Easter period of 2015 when £200 million in cash and jewels were taken from safety deposit boxes in Hatton Garden. Infamous not just because of it being the biggest heist in English legal history but because it was carried out by aged pensioners!
Nina Gold, Hollywood’s hottest casting director, did a splendid job in selecting an incredible cast.
James Marsh, director of Theory of Everything, provides us with elements of a classic heist film such as the criminal recruitment sequence with its distinguishable characters: We have the ex con and mastermind Brian Reader (Michael Caine) who is talked into doing one last job with the young and shy rookie criminal Basil (Charlie Cox). Reader recruits his old friends who include his alpha rival Terry Perkins (Jim Broadbent), long in the tooth John Kenny Collins (Tom Courtenay), dope smoking gardener Carl Wood (Paul Whitehouse) and wheeler dealer Danny Jones. Let’s not forget incontinent Billy “the fish” Lincoln brilliantly played by Michael Gambon.
The film inventively uses scenes from the cast’s past movies as archival material to illustrate the characters’ past but, in general, the visual style feels slightly awkward in rhythm and framing (odd angles, amateur zooms…).
The characters are endearing despite their lack of depth and substance but in the end these antiheroes come across as the less lovable criminals they truly are, giving the conclusion a nice raw edge.
The beauty of the film remains in its ode to London Cockney and British brilliance. Despite a backlash from victims of the crime for glorifying the robbers, the film manages to highlight comical side of this extraordinary event.
COMING TO CINEMAS 14 SEPTEMBER
Words by Elizabeth Robert