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King of Thieves - Film Review (MINI British Film Festival 2018)

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by Lloyd Marken (subscribe)
Lloyd Marken is a freelance writer with a passion for the arts who has been published with Scenestr, Heavy, Buzz, X-Press, FilmInk and Weekend Notes. Visit my blog at
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King of Thieves Can't Fence The Goods
King Of Thieves. Copyright Working Title Films and StudioCanal.
King Of Thieves. Copyright Working Title Films and StudioCanal.

The British Film Festival continues touring across the country with it running in Brisbane from the 25th October to the 19th of November. Run by Palace Cinemas with main sponsor Mini, there should be something for everyone. Keira Knightley is already winning acclaim for her performance in Collette about a 19th-century novelist whose husband gets credit for her book. Closing Night film is the touching Stan & Ollie about Laurel and Hardy played by Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly. From Scotland is the zombie musical comedy Anna and the Apocalypse. If there is one notable thread running throughout the festival though, it is the focus on the great Sir Michael Caine who in his eighty-sixth year has two new releases King of Thieves and My Generation showing along with his 1960s classics Alfie and The Italian Job.

King of Thieves features other well-known British actors such as Jim Broadbent, Tom Courtenay, Michael Gambon, Paul Whitehouse and Ray Winstone along with relative youngster Charlie Cox. Trading on their cinematic history and the real-life tale of pension aged crims making off with the biggest loot in UK history, it may seem in the beginning a light-hearted caper flick is in the offering. Old dogs showing new tricks and proving they've still got it while making fun of their advanced age perhaps? The movie opens strong too focussing on Caine's Brian Reader at a particularly touching time in his life. Caine ever the movie star remains able to say a million things with one quiet stare and entertains with his dialogue.

Yet as the film goes on, a realistic and low key tone ends up backfiring. You see, these men were not the nicest guys in real life and the heist, while ingenious, is not terribly exciting in and of itself. So we end up watching a flick about a bunch of crooked old men bickering and scamming each other as things go south. This feels honest but not terribly interesting and a few attempts to amuse with the obvious two-faced nature of the thieves is all the audience is left with. No stylish editing, energetic camera movements or explosive standoffs. The most exciting moment is probably Michael Caine threatening Broadbent… verbally.

Broadbent it has to be said has seldom played vicious and is interesting here against type, the rest of the cast also seem to be enjoying their roles. Even in lesser movies Michael Caine carries himself with dignity and stretches the role out to fit his stature. For fans of the cas,t there may be enough here to enjoy but The Italian Job is playing at the same festival and is a classic.
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