King of Thieves Stole My Time
James Marsh’s (The Theory of Everything) most recent directorial project fell short of expectations.
With an incredible cast, including Michael Caine, Charlie Cox, Ray Winstone and Jim Broadbent the film seemed as though it would be an instant hit. The trailer played on the tropes of the heist genre, assuring us that the movie would be fast-paced and thrilling- akin to Ocean’s Eleven or The Italian Job.
However, this was not the case and the film faltered between cockney comedy and an overt self-awareness of the criminals’ age. It should be noted that the plot is based on the Hatton Garden Heist, believed to be one of the largest heists in British history; committed/planned by a group of 9 criminals with an average age of 60-70. All were convicted, except Basil (Michael Seed) who evaded custody after the heist and is currently awaiting trial.
It is obvious that the Hatton Garden Heist would intrigue directors and actors alike, the sheer unexpected nature of the heist, its perpetrators and its scale is inherently comical.
But, King of Thieves failed to keep its pace; the dialogue was rigid, with too many deliberate pauses for laughter. The chemistry between the group seemed forced and confused, the heist scenes being some of the dullest of the movie.
Although Cox’s portrayal of Basil was hilarious, the actor kept the guise of an anxious first-time heister up until (spoiler) he made off with several flawless diamonds. In addition, Jim Broadbent’s portrayal of Terry as an intelligent, if a slightly psychopathic criminal was highly entertaining. It was refreshing to see Broadbent play an unpleasant, at times vicious, character- breaking away from his usual, pleasant character type.
To be fair to the actors, the film had its comedic moments and at times it felt like if the pace picked up a little it would work better as a whole. Instead, the most entertaining scenes were of the group planning the heist or in prison, both of which got little screen time.
What was perhaps the most amusing theme of the film is the display of dishonour amongst thieves. Each of the friends betrayed each other, pocketing away their lute and just generally being duplicitous.
King of Thieves had the potential to be a box-office smash, but its slow pace and un-polished dialogue made its flaws apparent: ironic for a film that focuses on the cultivation of flawless jewels.
[Photo Credits: Manfred Werner, CC BY-SA 3.0]