King of Thieves

One high security vault. Millions up for grabs. One hell of a retirement fund.

Two-time Oscar winner Michael Caine leads a crew of retired crooks that pulls off a major heist in London's jewelry district. Based on the true story of the 2015 London diamond heist, which made international news when it was found to have been committed by a misfit gang of retirees and pensioners.

Trailers

Directed by

  • James Marsh('The Theory of Everything', 'Shadow Dancer', 'Wisconsin Death Trip')

Written by

Comedy, Crime, True Story & Biography

108mins

Rating: M Offensive language

UK

It may not have made waves internationally, but the Hatton Garden Robbery of 2015—in which a bunch of London pensioners pulled off the largest burglary in UK history—was, to paraphrase a certain newsreader, kind of a big deal in England.

It’s already been the subject of two (not especially good) films, but with James Marsh (Man on Wire) directing, and a cast including Michael Caine, Ray Winstone, Jim Broadbent and Tom Courtenay, King of Thieves is the one that threatens to blow the bloody doors off.

It begins with a brisk intro to career criminal Brian Reader (Caine) and his gang of ageing geezers. When electronics expert Basil (Charlie Cox) suggests robbing a central London safety-deposit facility, they don’t take much persuading. It’s a daring plan that involves sneaking in over Easter weekend then drilling into the vault without getting caught—or, in the case of the larger gentlemen, stuck.

Unusually for a film that feints towards the caper movie (“So that’s how they see us, is it? The Lavender Hill Mob?” huffs Caine), the robbery itself is disappointingly perfunctory. Joe Penhall’s script offers some decent gags (“Why am I doing the dangerous bits?” asks Winstone. “You’re the youngest,” deadpans Cox), but never gets the pulse racing.

In the aftermath, things go predictably—if not rapidly—south, both for the gang and the viewer. By cutting away to clips of the cast’s earlier movies, Marsh seems to be mourning the passing of their glory days, but why? Though the actors do their best, their characters are neither compelling nor especially convincing, and they deserve everything they get. Indeed, the greatest mystery is how, with so much talent onboard, the crime of the century became a movie of the week.

Hollywood Reporter

press

King of Thieves really should have delivered way more cinematic swag than it does.

The Times (UK)

press

This is a risky device, but it works, the postmodern playfulness sending an implicit message: it's OK to like Caine and company, but be repelled by the men they're playing.

Variety (USA)

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Torn between jaunty genre hijinks and a bleaker streak of realism, it's a strangely stiff, lethargic account of a cracking tale.

The Guardian

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Some tough sentences and stern words from the bench are in order for everyone involved.

The Telegraph (UK)

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There's more than enough acrid chatter among the thieves to keep us entertained.

Empire (UK)

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An old-school film about an old-school crime that brings together an impressive array of British legends. Solid, but sadly the results don't exactly blow the bloody doors off.

Little White Lies

press

Misses its opportunities to say more about men in crisis.