National treasures; The BIG release.
Byline: With CHRIS HUNNEYSETT Twitter @ChrisHunneysett
KING OF THIEVES
Cert 15 Running time 108 minutes ***
There's a hoard of British acting gems on display in this straightforward real-life heist drama. Based on the Hatton Garden safe deposit burglary of 2015, it sees Michael Caine, Michael Gambon and Tom Courtenay play the OAP bank robbers who stole PS14million of jewels, gold and cash over the Easter Bank holiday.
With all three national treasures being knights of the realm, this is the most ennobled gang of robbers since Robin of Loxley renamed himself Robin Hood and took up residence in Sherwood Forest. Saying that, Kevin Costner's Robin was memorably only a prince of thieves.
Caine plays Brian Reader, a bereaved lifelong criminal who recruits a team of venerable villains who are all suffering variously from diabetes, and dodgy knees, ears and eyes.
Others included in the ranks are Ray Winstone, Jim Broadbent and The Fast Show's Paul Whitehouse.
Charming as the actors are, the script makes clear they have violent dispositions and aren't lovable old rogues.
Caine Reader recruits venerable suffering diabetes dodgy ears The audacious and lucrative robbery is quite genius in its simplicity, using a lift shaft for access and then drilling through the vault wall. To turn off the alarms, Caine recruits a mysterious young electronics expert played by Charlie Cox.
After a stately introduction, the story heats up with the heist, and the aftermath proves there's no honour among thieves as greed and duplicity threaten to take the lustre off their success.
Last year's woeful film, The Hatton Garden Job, attempted the same story with Larry Lamb and Phil Daniels.
But this film is a far superior version and is definitely at its best when the cast are let loose, with Caine still capable of a regal temper and Winstone a heavyweight working-class threat.
plays Brian who a team of villains from and knees, and eyes Plus, all the actors carry the memories of their distinguished careers, which the film cheekily plays on towards the end.
It's impossible to begrudge these diamond geezers one more chance in the limelight.
Caine plays Brian Reader who recruits a team of venerable villains suffering from diabetes and dodgy knees, ears and eyes
ALL OVER: Ray, Paul, Michael, Jim and Tom play bank robbers