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Film review: King of Thieves has a charismatic cast but doesn’t hang together

PUBLISHED: 12:40 24 September 2018 | UPDATED: 12:41 24 September 2018

A scene from the crime drama King of Thieves. Picture: JACK ENGLISH/STUDIOCANAL

A scene from the crime drama King of Thieves. Picture: JACK ENGLISH/STUDIOCANAL

Studiocanal

See our review of crime drama King of Thieves, currently showing in cinemas. Have you seen the movie and what did you think of it?

Peering through the hole in the wall in The King of Thieves. Picture: STUDIOCANALPeering through the hole in the wall in The King of Thieves. Picture: STUDIOCANAL

The notorious Hatton Garden safe deposit burglary, which saw a group of elderly criminals steal £14million worth of valuables only later to be apprehended, has already inspired two cinematic adaptations – Hatton Garden: The Heist and The Hatton Garden Job - as well as a soon to be released mini-series, Hatton Garden.

What sets James Marsh’s latest directorial effort apart from the former largely charmless filmic interpretations is the charisma of his leads.

So clearly are the team of Michael Caine, Jim Broadbent, Ray Winstone, Tom Courtenay, Paul Whitehouse, Charlie Cox and Michael Gambon enjoying themselves that even in the film’s weaker moments they make the proceedings endlessly enjoyable.

Caine, in particular, excels as the group’s conflicted leader Brian Reader, imbuing him with a seething menace and crushing sadness that make him a compelling anti-hero. Broadbent’s psychotic Terry and Courtenay’s manipulative technophobe John are also highlights.

Regrettably, the rest of Marsh’s film is not as strong as its central performances. Both script and tone veer wildly from comic crime caper – its jazz-inflected score and the characters’ snide asides recall Steven Soderbergh’s Oceans 11 - to dark crime drama.

As fear and paranoia become entrenched, the group behaves in increasingly duplicitous ways. The whole thing just does not hang together and we are left with the feeling that the source material and the cast deserve better.

Arguably the strongest interpretation of the titular heist, Marsh’s flawed crime drama gets by on the sheer magnetism of his cast.

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