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King of Thieves: The Hatton Garden crime caper

A cast of great British leads tell the real life story of the diamond geezers who pull off an infamous jewellery heist

14 September, 2018 — By Dan Carrier

Paul Whitehouse, Ray Winstone, Michael Caine, Jim Broadbent and Tom Courtenay in King of Thieves

Directed by James Marsh
Certificate 15

A GANG of career crooks, now way beyond pensionable age, clambered through a hole they had drilled in the wall of a safe deposit box vault in Hatton Garden in 2015, and clambered out again with what some have estimated to be up to £200m worth of other people’s loot.

We have had books about the crime – One Last Job, the version written by Daily Mirror journalists Tom Pettifor and Nick Sommerlad was excellent – and long-read articles, including the brilliant words of ace crime reporter Duncan Campbell for the Guardian, which is credited by the makers at the end.

There have been two other films – The Hatton Garden Job and Hatton Garden The Heist, neither kindly reviewed by critics – and this feels like the final, definitive tale. Enough already.

Collecting together a cast of great British leads – Michael Caine, Jim Broadbent, Tom Courtenay, Michael Gambon, Ray Winstone and Paul Whitehouse – the story of the pensioners who knocked off boxes packed with diamonds, cash, jewellery and who knows what else is a tale we all already know the outcome of.

Still, it’s fun watching this gang be offered the tip from a youngster called Basil (Charlie Cox) who, incidentally, was never caught, and then follow them as they try to pull off the burglary, hampered by their aching and weary limbs, their incontinence, their mistrust of each other and the general sense that they should have quit this game a long, long time ago.

While the effing and blinding and the rhyming slang feels a little clichéd, you can’t help but enjoy Broadbent shedding his Mike Leigh clothing and moving his voice down a class into the cockney underworld his character inhabits.

Caine mumbles his way through his lines with grace, and offers us a back story as to why he did the job, while Courtenay and Gambon play their roles for well-earned laughs.

But perhaps the most enjoyable moment is when director Marsh pinches images from the leads in their youth – Billy Liar, Alfie and the rest all pop up – and it reminds you you’ve just spent the best part of two hours watching some of the nation’s finest actors rattling their way through a flick that would have been much better suited to being broadcast on a Sunday evening on telly.


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