At the funeral of wife (Francesca Annis), elderly career criminal Brian Reader (Michael Caine) runs into his old buddies. With talk swiftly turning to potential robberies, Brian declares that he isn’t interested. However, the next day Basil (Charlie Cox) visits him at home. He, too was at the funeral and has a foolproof plan to raid Hatton Garden’s world famous diamond vault. Intrigued, Brian assembles his old team of associates. That said, past resentments and greed are never far behind as the elderly criminals aim for that “one last job”.
…the lustre of this enterprise quickly reveals its flaws.
Based on the real events surrounding the largest ever robbery in British history, ‘King of Thieves’ brings with it a stellar cast. With Michael Caine, Jim Broadbent, Tom Courtenay and Michael Gambon, this film does not lack for diamond geezers. Add to this, another creditable performance by Paul Whitehouse and an interesting, against-type casting of Charlie Cox as agoraphobic Basil and the stage would seem to be well set. Sadly however, the lustre of this enterprise quickly reveals its flaws.
For while the cast do their best, the paucity of decent lines and leaden intrigue weighs down heavily on ‘The King of Thieves’ from its very first steps. In its desire to convey the mundane lives of its principals, it sadly falls head long into its own vault of mediocrity.
Despite a flicker of character development mid-way between glaringly psychotic Jim Broadbent and dry-as-ashes Michael Caine, most of the other characters are hemmed into the plot as stereotypical segue-ways. With the only character arc on offer being given to Charlie Cox, this is a cinematic crime that predictably goes to pieces.
Robbed of a decent narrative from the police’s side, any sense of tension or significance as to the scale of the crime goes begging. Finishing with a scene that rewards neither its characters nor its audience, ‘King of Thieves’ is a film that is looking at a long, unloved spell on a video rental shelf, with few planned visits ahead.