KING OF THIEVES, 30- SEC­OND FOREN­SIC SCIENCE, THE LADY IN THE CEL­LAR, AND MORE

AGE- OLD TALE OF CRIME AND PUN­ISH­MENT

Real Crime - - Contents - RE­LEASED OUT NOW DI­REC­TOR JAMES MARSH DIS­TRIB­U­TOR STU­DIO­CANAL An­ton Bi­tel

The lat­est crime film, mys­tery fic­tion and true tales re­viewed

You prob­a­bly know the score. After all, the Hat­ton Gar­den safe de­posit bur­glary took place not so very long ago, over the Easter Bank Hol­i­day of 2015, and was said to be “the largest bur­glary in English le­gal his­tory”, with around £ 200 mil­lion worth of cash and jew­ellery stolen by a crew of el­derly ca­reer crim­i­nals. All were sub­se­quently jailed for their non- vi­o­lent ac­tion, save for much younger crewmem­ber ‘ Basil’, who has never been prop­erly iden­ti­fied, let alone ap­pre­hended. Much of the loot re­mains un­re­cov­ered. It is an in­ci­dent that has al­ready in­spired two fea­ture drama­ti­sa­tions – Terry Lee Coker’s Hat­ton Gar­den: The Heist ( 2016) and Ron­nie Thomp­son’s The Hat­ton Gar­den Job ( 2017) – as well as an ITV minis­eries ( Hat­ton Gar­den) made in 2017 but still not tele­vised.

This lat­est ( and likely not the last) film to fo­cus on this par­tic­u­lar bur­glary, King Of Thieves, uses this true crime as both re­flex and lament for Brexit Bri­tain. Di­rected by James Marsh, who has di­vided his film­mak­ing ca­reer be­tween doc­u­men­tary ( Man On Wire, Project Nim), docu­d­rama ( Wis­con­sin Death Trip, The The­ory Of Every­thing, The Mercy) and re­al­ist fic­tion ( The King, TV’s Red Rid­ing: The Last Year of Our Lord 1980, Shadow Dancer), King Of Thieves opens with the death of Lynne ( Francesca An­nis), beloved wife of many decades to 77- year- old vet­eran of the 1983 Brink’s- Mat rob­bery Brian Reader ( Michael Caine). Lynne’s pass­ing es­tab­lishes an ele­giac tone that the film never shakes, as it fol­lows Reader, left with­out his moral an­chor, as­sem­bling a crew – Terry Perkins ( Jim Broad­bent), John ‘ Kenny’ Collins ( Tom Courte­nay), Danny Jones ( Ray Win­stone) and Carl Wood ( Paul White­house) – in or­der to fol­low an in­side lead on Hat­ton Gar­den from com­puter- savvy Basil ( Char­lie Cox), and then to get their stolen goods fenced by the in­con­ti­nent Billy ‘ The Fish’ Lin­coln ( Michael Gam­bon).

You might ex­pect a film with this premise and this ex­tra­or­di­nary cast to be a jolly ca­per of di­a­mond geezers, but King Of Thieves, though pep­pered with funny lines, is a melan­cholic film, pre­oc­cu­pied with de­cline. It is not just the many phys­i­cal symp­toms of age­ing that its main char­ac­ters ex­hibit, doomed by their own mor­tal­ity as much as by fate ( and good po­lice work), but also the sense – con­firmed by com­men­tary heard in a back­ground news re­port – that this ‘ one last job’ serves equally as a metaphor for a Bri­tain that is rapidly los­ing its great­ness.

Ul­ti­mately, these age­ing men, tal­ented but treach­er­ous one and all, are set no less against each other than against so­ci­ety, each striv­ing to re­tire well at the ex­pense of ev­ery­body else – while their younger, more ca­pa­ble col­league ends up flee­ing with his con­sid­er­able cash and skills to the safer em­brace of the con­ti­nent.

‘ King of thieves’ Brian Reader ( Michael Caine) talks di­a­monds with his pro­tégé Basil ( Char­lie Cox)

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