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Film / King of Thieves

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King of Thieves, is a 2018 British crime film based on the Hatton Garden safe deposit burglary of 2015. Directed by James Marsh, the film stars Michael Caine, Tom Courtenay, Michael Gambon, Charlie Cox, Jim Broadbent, Paul Whitehouse and Ray Winstone.

A famous thief in his younger years, 77 year old widower Brian Reader pulls together a band of misfit criminals to plot an unprecedented burglary at the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit. The thieves, all in their 60s and 70s except for one, employ their old-school thieving skills to plan the heist over the Easter holiday weekend. Posing as servicemen, they enter the deposit, neutralise the alarms, and proceed to drill a hole into the wall of the safe. Two days later, they manage to escape with allegedly over £ 200 million worth of stolen jewels and money. When police are called to the scene and the investigation starts, the cracks between the misfit gang members begin to show as they row over how to share the goods and become increasingly distrustful of each other.


King of Thieves contains examples of:

  • Based on a True Story: The film is based on the Hatton Garden safe deposit burglary of 2015.
  • Chairman of the Brawl: During the argument while divvying up the loot, Terry smashes an oak chair on the floor and uses it to threaten Basil.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Brian comments on how distinctive Ken's car (a two-tone Mercedes) is when he is using it conduct surveillance on the safety deposit building. Guess what the police home in on when studying the CCTV footage from before the robbery?
  • Criminal Procedural: About half the film details the gang's planning and execution of the heist. The second half deals with the fallout.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: This is a weakness of Ken's. While keeping lookout during the burglary, he is distracted by a woman in her lingerie in one of the buildings opposite. Later, when leaving the pool, he turns to follow the ass of an attractive woman walking past.
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  • Dramatization: A few changes are made for sake of storytelling, but the film hews very close to events of the Hatton Garden job as they are known.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Carl's major concern on being arrested is what is going to happen to his mother, who has Alzheimer's.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Psycho Party Member Terry is shown to be a devoted family man who takes his granddaughter to her ballet lessons.
  • Greed: What causes the wheels to come off the plan. Even during the heist, the various thieves are shown pocketing high end pieces of loot for themselves. However, things come to a head when Terry, Danny and Ken decide they can force Basil out of his share altogether. Basil does not take this lying down, and things begin to unravel; ending with almost everyone in prison.
  • Hard-Work Montage: There is a montage of the gang planning and preparing as they assemble everything they will need for the heist.
  • The Heist: The film is a dramatization if the Hatton Garden safe deposit burglary: the "largest burglary in English legal history."
  • Incredibly Obvious Bug: The police plant some obvious bugs, but plant them in non-obvious places (e.g. under the dashboard of a car and in a breadbasket on a pub table).
  • Janitor Impersonation Infiltration: Ken and Billy sit in a pool discussing their part in the heist unaware that the cleaner mopping the floor behind them is DC Amy.
  • Known Only by Their Nickname: Brian gave Basil his nickname because his plummy accent reminded him of Basil Brush. If Brian knows Basil's real name, he never mentions it, and the rest of the gang only know him as Basil. The end credits suggest that Basil stands for Best Alarm Specialist In London.
  • Last Disrespects: During Lynne's wake, the thoughtless Danny starts doing a handstand to impress a group of young ladies, which Brian finds immensely disrespectful and goes over to sort him out.
  • Man on Fire: Terry threatens to turn Carl into one by soaking him in petrol and ominously brandishing a box of matches while warning him what might happen if he either tries to claim a share of the loot or tells anyone what he knows. Terry and Danny then shown walking away from Carl's allotment in silence, leaving his fate unclear. Carl is later shown being rounded up by the police with the rest of the gang.
  • No Honor Among Thieves: The cracks begin to show when Ken decides to use his brother-in-law Billy as fence without consulting the rest of the gang. However, things really fall apart when Terry, Danny and Ken decide to stiff Basil of his share of the take.
  • One Last Job: After his wife dies, Brian decides to tackle the Hatton Garden vault; a job he had never been able to manage before.
  • Potty Emergency: Billy the Fish suffers from incontinence and is constantly having to dash off to find a toilet. Even after he is arrested, the police have to stop the van and let him out to pee, with one of the policemen holding his penis because his hands are cuffed behind his back.
  • Psycho Party Member: Terry Perkins is an old school London criminal with a hair trigger temper, who—at the drop of a hat—will decide someone is slighting him or trying to cheat him. His acts include smashing a chair in the floor and using to threaten Basil out of his share of the loot, and dousing Carl in petrol and threatening to set him alight if he talks or makes any claim on the proceeds.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Carl gets cold feet after Brian walks away. When Terry tells him to decide if he is in or out, Carl decides he is out and runs away.
  • Spiritual Successor: The ending montage featuring flashbacks to the cast's roles when they were younger men, particularly Michael Caine as Jack Carter, suggests that this film is a spiritual sequel to those sort of films.
  • Title Drop: During one of his rants, Terry sarcastically refers to Brian as "the king of thieves".


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