Review of King of Thieves

This post was written by Colin Free on October 9, 2018

There have been a number of films and TV series made or are trying to be made about the 2015 Easter weekend robbery of a vault in Hatton Garden. IMDB lists at least 8 and I have also listened to a good radio play on the subject. King of Thieves is certainly the starriest, and is an improvement on the last telling I saw, last year’s ‘Hatton Garden Job’.

Michael Caine stars as Brian Reader the organiser and leader of the heist. In his team are Jim Broadbent as the dangerous Terry Perkins, as well as Tom Courtenay as Kenny Collins, Ray Winstone as Danny Jones and Paul Whitehouse. James Marsh’s film does fall into the trap of portraying the robbers as harmless old rogues at times.

Caine is particularly good at the start if the film in the role of a grieving widower with little to lose, and his performance does garner sympathy. But it also makes clear that Reader is a dangerous man, and Perkins, Collins and Jones are wholly unlikable. The veteran cast clearly relish Joe Penhall’s salty dialogue and they are all on good form.

The film is eminently watchable but the problem lies in the fact that this is a true story. I guess it is the combination of the massive amount stolen and the fact that most of the thieves are in their 60s and 70s that makes this tale so attractive to filmmakers. However, although there was some ingenuity in the planning and timing of the heist, it was pretty incompetently executed. They were all caught numerous times on CCTV and were identified and then arrested pretty quickly. Basically, Brian Reader is no Danny Ocean!

Rating: 6.5 out of 10

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