It’s one of the most famous British crimes of the 21st Century – a group of men broke into the heavily protected Hatton Garden repository, and got away with an unknown amount of loot, which could have been up to £200 million worth. It’s inspired documentaries, endless column inches and this film. It’s not going to end there, as another movie, starring Michael Caine, is planned, and a TV drama has just been announced, with Timothy Spall signed on to star.
The Hatton Garden Job got there first though.
Matthew Goode plays an unnamed character, who gets involved in what seems like an impossible job – robbing the underground vault of the Hatton Garden repository in London. There are dodgy characters who want specific things locked up in there, but there are also millions in jewels and others precious goods that anyone in there could get away with.
In order to get the job done, Goode decides he needs an old school crew and so he goes really old school, approaching 70-something pensioner Brian Reader (Larry Lamb), who gets together a team of his career criminal old-guy mates to plan exactly how they’re going to do the break in. As it gets closer to the job, Goode’s characters becomes involved in the crossfire of underworld machinations, while the old men’s health issues put the whole thing in jeopardy.
There’s a big problem at the heart of The Hatton Garden Job. Probably the most famous thing about the heist is that it was planned and executed by a group of pensioners. However, this movie slightly sidelines the old guys, and instead focusses on a fictional young chap. The only reason seems to be because the makers don’t seem to trust that audiences would watch a film about old men, and so they invent a much younger, but rather annoying, character to go along with them.
It also doesn’t trust that the heist is interesting enough in itself, which is ridiculous, as it was one hell of a feat. The impressive mechanics of break-in are given fairly short shrift, so that there’s time for Matthew Goode to get involved in second rate shenanigans with Joely Richardson’s Hungarian drug lord, and Stephen Moyer’s shifty criminal. Indeed, there are times during the movie, where you get the impression the makers were a bit miffed that they were supposed to be making a movie about the Hatton Garden heist, because they really wanted to make a substandard Snatch clone.
As a result, it’s all a bit of a waste of time. It’s not dreadful and bits of it are good fun, but the constant feeling that it’s ignoring the best bits of the story so that it can squeeze in clichéd nonsense becomes tedious. One positive though it that whenever Larry Lamb is on screen, it’s difficult not to feel it would be much better if he was Michael Caine, so hopefully that means the Caine version of the story will be a better movie.
Overall Verdict: From beginning to end The Hatton Garden Job is a missed opportunity to tell a fascinating story, so that it can instead concentrate on substandard crime shenanigans.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac