It is intriguing as well as disconcerting to watch British stars at late stages of their lives. Michael Caine was so appealing in his youth, and although looking so much older now and a long way from “Alfie,” he is still the consummate actor as Brian, leader of a jewelry heist in “King of Thieves,” based on a real, legendary crime, scripted by Joe Penhall and directed by James Marsh.
There is also plenty of nostalgia in watching aged Tom Courtenay, a long distance from the “Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner.” Here he plays Kenny, one of the robbers. We also see veteran actors Jim Broadbent (Terry) and Ray Winstone (Danny), as well as Charlie Cox playing Basil, the younger thief in the entourage.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Caine a few times, most memorably in his apartment diagonally across from the American Embassy in London on Grosvenor Square. I remember with pleasure his saying that after staring at the American Eagle of the U.S. embassy every day he thought of putting up a Cockney sparrow replica outside his apartment. I also recall fondly interviewing Tom Courtenay way back when.
Age hovers over the film, with the effort to pull off one more crime, a huge coup labeled as one of the biggest ever. We see the details of the break into a jewelry business and the efforts to crack a huge safe. Of course, something goes wrong, and there is much humor along the way in watching the blokes having to return a second time.
The trouble is that the plot comes across as familiar in the wake of other such tales, including distrust and the desire to double cross. True, there is a modicum of suspense, but the film is quite old hat in terms of the genre.
However, if you want to relish the opportunity to watch old pro actors who still have commanding screen presence, you might find enjoyment seeing “King of Thieves.” A Saban Films release. Reviewed January 26, 2019.