Perhaps 10 or 15 years ago this would have been seen as passable fare, made off the back of Lock, Stock or Snatch, churning out yet another Guy Ritchie-lite, cheeky chappy crime caper. Released in 2017 (almost coinciding with the date of the real heist) you’d be hard pushed to think of a reason why director Ronnie Thompson decided to chop this together as he did. There is a solid enough cast involved in recreating the events of the 2015 Hatton Garden robbery, yet each one is merely playing a pastiche of a character they’re committed to screen numerous times before.
Matthew Goode is the nameless leader of the gang, tasked with gathering together a motley crew of old geezers to pull off the biggest jewel heist in history. £200m worth to be exact. It’s an old-school job perfect for a group of old hands with the right know-how. Knowotimean? Say-no-more sunshine. Larry Lamb, Phil Daniels, and David Calder make up the rest of the group, and of course, there are a number of dodgy characters tied into the robbery, each one looking to get their own cut of the loot.
Joely Richardson being one such individual, a leading crime boss who randomly appears to mutter single lines of dialogue in an inaudible Hungarian accent. Bent ex-coppers and dodgy criminals fill in the remaining blank spaces of the supporting cast, each one sounding more transparent than the next. And because they’re all men of honour who can handle themselves should things get a little tasty, every single conversation is conducted in stern, hushed tones.
As you might expect, Thompson takes liberties with what really occurred, which isn’t a problem in itself, more so that the delivery of the story is insipidly dull. Goode’s nameless wonder is loosely positioned as some sort of Robin Hood character, robbing from city bankers on our behalf, Gawd bless him. All the while, the East End is painted with the brightest of brushes, with only one non-white face appearing onscreen until presenter Sarah-Jane Crawford shows up for the briefest of moments at the end. It is no doubt an unintentional oversight by the director but for a film based on a real life event, it only adds to the sense that this is complete fiction, rather than anything connected to the real world.
For a film that features so many light-fingered scoundrels, it’s hard not to feel a little short changed yourself come the end. With rumours of a Caine, Broadbent, Winston and Gambon version in the pipeline, you can imagine that this will be forgotten almost as quickly as it has been released. And the chances are, even the cast won’t feel they are laughing all the way from the bank.
A criminal UK caper that should be put away for a very long time.