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REVIEW: King Of Thieves

Remember the mature gang of criminals who attempted to rob the vault under London’s famous jewellery district, Hatton Gardens, a few years ago? Their story’s been made into a film starring Michael Caine (and ‘not a lot of people know that…’).’s Kel Georgiou checks it out…

Ever since the post-war years, British cinema has enjoyed a good old-fashioned crime caper. The latest addition is King of Thieves, based on the true story of the men who robbed Hatton Gardens on Easter Weekend 2015.

Michael Caine stars as Brian Reader, an ex-con who has vowed to go straight and enjoy his ‘Golden Years’, with his wife. When she passes away, Brian teams up with young electrician and wannabe criminal Basil (Charlie Cox), and along with his old partners in crime, prepares to rob the safety deposit boxes of EC1’s famous jewellery district in London, Hatton Gardens.

It might seem like a daring and almost impossible heist, but the gang decide the job is doable when they observe Basil’s obvious skill with a computer to bypass and trip the alarm and security cameras.

However, this is based on real life, so instead of sailing off into the sunset on their new yachts after the heist, the men have to dodge and deal with the law, learning along the way that there really is no trust (or honour) among thieves.

The Theory of Everything and Wisconsin Death Trip director, James Marsh, does a capable job of setting up this slickly paced, trickily staged crime caper, pulling together a clutch of some of our best-loved actors that are a joy to watch together on screen. But without building a picture of the criminals’ past, it’s hard to feel invested in their future, and even experienced performers Ray Winstone and Paul Whitehouse (this time acting alongside Michael Caine, instead of doing his impression), are underused.

But the negatives are offset by some classy performances especially from Caine, as the respected and intelligent ring leader, Reader – a complete contrast to Jim Broadbent’s borderline sociopath, Terry Jenkins. Tom Courtenay also gives a terrific performance as John ‘Kenny’ Collins, who may come across as a loveable rogue, while in reality, he’s clearly a devious opportunist.

With its nod to the classic Ealing comedy genre, this nostalgic trip into London’s gangster land sends the audience away with the message that, whatever your age or experience, there’s no reward for doing the wrong thing – despite a little bit of us all wishing they’d got away with it…

King of Thieves is in cinemas from September 14th. Rating: 15


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