Who wouldn’t be excited by the prospect of Michael Caine, Tom Courtenay, Michael Gambon, Jim Broadbent, Paul Whitehouse, Ray Winstone and Charlie Cox starring in the screen version of the UK’s largest ever burglary? The true-life tale saw a bunch of geriatric crooks pull-off a reported £200 million heist in London’s Hatton Garden in 2015. The story was too good to be true and a slew of film companies rushed the story into production to steal cash from audiences still captivated by the crime.
The first out of the gate was 2017’s The Hatton Garden Job, but King Of Thieves looked like the sure-fire winner, with the above rogues gallery of top-tier acting talent. Sadly, director James Marsh and writer Joe Penhall have made a film which is as slow and plodding as its ageing cast. Pitched as a comedy-thriller, the film’s laughs are few and far-between, while the thrills are what can only be described as ‘low octane’. King Of Thieves is a film of two halves – the first being a jazzed-fused heist comedy and the second sees the gang discover that there really is no honour among thieves.
You’re never going to get a bad performance out of Caine and Company, but you get the feeling that they’re just going through the motions here. They just don’t have the material to work with. The most irritating thing about Marsh’s film (apart from how pedestrian it all is) is Danny Cohen’s jazzy ‘60s inspired score. This might have seemed cool when Steven Soderbergh and David Holmes did it in Ocean’s Eleven, but 20 years-on it seems old hat, like you’re watching an episode of BBC’s Hustle (and even that ended in 2012).
A huge disappointment, King Of Thieves just about manages to entertain despite its excellent cast. However, once you get to the end see clips of the film’s stars in better movies from their prime, it will make you wish that King Of Thieves lived-up to this promise. It doesn’t – and that’s the real crime of the century.