Get us in your inbox

The King of Thieves

  • Film
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Jack English
Advertising

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

At first ponderous, then offering some surprising bite, this true-life crime drama is a film of two halves.

Ageing crook Brian Reader (Michael Caine) is tempted back for one last job by a sad-sack electronics wiz (Charlie Cox) in this heist film starring a posse of venerable British actors. He sets about reuniting old muckers (Jim Broadbent, Tom Courtenay, Ray Winstone and Paul Whitehouse) for a crack at the vault in London’s diamond hub Hatton Garden, which is due to be left unguarded over a bank holiday weekend. It’d seem far-fetched if it wasn’t all true.

While the set-up moves with all the wild abandon of a faulty Stairmaster, these old pros combine about 250 years of screen acting experience (as one on-the-nose flashback reminds us) and they just about keep things moving towards the film’s central crime. The heist itself is no slick ‘Ocean’s’ job – improbably, the crew bugger off home in the middle of it when one of their tools breaks (again, all factual) – but from there, ‘King of Thieves’ develops a crackle of nastiness as the crew slowly turn on each other.

Director James Marsh finds neat contrasts between the wordlessly professional cops on the case and the gobby robbers spilling jewels and secrets as their paranoia takes a grip. Michael Gambon breaks the tension as a dozy fence with a leaky bladder, but Broadbent’s proper psy-caaa-path cranks it up again, with Winstone offering mean-eyed support. There’s an odd delight in watching these screen legends shouting ‘faaack!’ at each other for half an hour, and the pay-off is satisfyingly gritty. 

Phil de Semlyen
Written by
Phil de Semlyen

Release Details

  • Rated:15
  • Release date:Friday 14 September 2018
  • Duration:108 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:James Marsh
  • Screenwriter:Joe Penhall
  • Cast:
    • Michael Caine
    • Tom Courtenay
    • Ray Winstone
    • Charlie Cox
    • Joe Penhall
    • Jim Broadbent
Advertising
You may also like

    The best things in life are free.

    Get our free newsletter – it’s great.

    Loading animation
    Déjà vu! We already have this email. Try another?

    🙌 Awesome, you're subscribed!

    Thanks for subscribing! Look out for your first newsletter in your inbox soon!