This movie is a crime story about a group of retired criminals who undertake a major heist in a big Jewelry shop in London. This movie amazingly is based on true events. Their last criminal venture together turns nasty due to greed and we see the criminals go up against each other. What an oustanding cast: Michael Caine as Brian Reader, Michael Gambon as Billy the Fish Lincoln, Charlie Cox as Basil, Jim Broadbent as Terry Perkins, Ray Winstone as Danny Jones, Francesca Annis as Lynne Reader, Tom Courtenay as John Kenny Collins, Paul Whitehouse as Carl Wood, Kellie Shirley as Terri Robinson, Martha Howe-Douglas as Lip Reader, Keely Cat Wells as Ballerina, Bernardo Santos as Police Officer, Ann Akin as DC Amy, Trinity L Beals as Swat Team and Sephora Venites as Model.
We see old black and white TV footage/news (60's or 70's era) about robberies in the city. Soul music plays in the background. It's a great intro. Michael Caine plays Brian, an expert thief. Brian is having dinner with a woman, Lynne. She appears to be his wife. Lynne tells him to stay out of mischief. She doesn't want him to undertake any more 'jobs'. Lynne refuses to drink wine, she has to go to the hospital tomorrow.
Brian and Lynne go to a jazz club. A trumpet player plays live. It's a very cool scene. You can tell that Brian has some wealth and that he has a touch of class. He must have been a successful robber. I must say the soundtrack to this movie is outstanding and it helps create a slick and class mood to this crime movie.
We then see two old men playing with fireworks. One of them, Terry, is a cook. We then see footage of him in a diner kitchen getting yelled at hehe. The other old man is John and he has a hearing condition that Terry makes fun of hehe.
We then see another old man, Danny, asking for a loan. He gets denied. Sadly, we then see Brian at the funeral of Lynne. She passed away due to illness. The two other men we saw earlier (Terry and John) are there at the funeral. They know Brian. They all chat about possible robberies. Danny is also there acting silly by doing a hand stand to prove his flexibility. But Brian just wants to stay out of trouble to honour what his wife wanted for him.
Basil, a much younger man visits Brian. Brian is sad and tells Basil that there is "always silence after someone dies". Basil seems like he's some sort of novice thief. Basil and Brian talk shop at a jazz club. The jazz music is awesome and it continues to create an old fashioned/classy mood for the film. Basil then says he has access to a key to a jewelery store. Basil is nervous at the thought of this job. So is Brian. Brian goes on a bus ride and thinks about it. A great trumpet based track plays in the background.
Brian goes to some diamond shops with Basil. He explains the different types of Diamonds to Basil. Brian is an expert at these things. To do this job they must first break into the jewelery shop and do some research on where exactly they store the expensive jewels.
They are very relaxed as they perform this job hehe. It looks like it's a heist but as I said they are just planning at this stage. "Things like this gives me purpose" Brian says to Basil about the job.
Brian's men now start preparing for the actual heist. There is some funny dialogue between the old men hehe. Most of the old men have a comical side but their tough as nails. We see cool footage of when these old men were young (and had hair hehe), driving around in older style vehicles. This type of editing and cutting to old footage happens a few times in this movie and this technique is very effective. These old men have all had past lives and have been quite infamous.
"I'll state that this movie oozes cool. The characters are cool and the music is cool. The cool mood predominantly has to do with Michael Caine. This guy has a lot of presence and he is very watchable"
Brian's men have a meeting and they all meet Basil. Basil brings blueprints. He is slightly nervous. The old men make jokes about him. Basil says they need to enter the building level with the jewels by by-passing security cameras. They need a big drill and they also need lookouts etc. The crew practices several manouvers. The men make jokes about their old age.
The heist begins! All their planning is now getting implemented to perfection. "Why am I doing the dangerous bits" says Danny. Basil then says "Cause your the youngest" (he was the youngest old man in the group hehe).
An alarm sounds and Basil cuts some wires and it stops. Kenny is on lookout. They brought in a massive drill! Kenny then says there is security guard outside. The guard has a look around then he leaves. There is great tension in this scene. The massive drill is drilling a hole into the vault room. After the hole has been drilled they use a hydrolic hammer. It's quite innovative. But the pump breaks. Basil doesn't know how to fix it.
"Brian fueds with Terry, they nearly fight. Great great scene here. Both of them have venom here, they don't appear to be harmless old men anymore. There is menace to some of these criminals. Years of being robbers have taken their toll. I love this about this movie"You can tell they are experienced thieves and some of them have had to use violence in the past. Fantastic acting. They are all tense because of the fact that the pump broke and they can't continue. They all have to go home and resume again the following night. It's quite amazing that this is possible. You see the cameras were shut down and the store was shut over two days so it was possible to take a break.
It's night time, next day. The heist continues! Basil says to Brian that "everybody thinks you lost your nerve" becuase Brian didn't want to participate in the next day. The three lookouts are outside. One of them leaves out of nervousness. They bring in a new pump and their original plan continues. They break into the Vault room by pushing a cabinet in! Once inside they break all the locked draws and steal diamonds and gold! They steal everything! What an exciting scene. This is what they were after and their plan was executed to perfection.
But Brian wasn't there. The following day the police arrive and the heist is all over the news. They examine the big hole. $300 Million pounds were stolen!
In the kitchen of one of the thieves all the old men count their loot. The criminals start arguing with Basil about how to split up the loot. Terry in particular gets tough and intimidates Basil. Terry gets nasty here. Fantastic acting by Jim Broadbent. Basil leaves with some of the loot, whatever he could carry out with him.
They use a friends fish truck to shift the stolen goods to another location. Basil only got around 80 grand. Brian has a meeting with Basil. Brian says "I want what's mine" and that "I'm gonna get what's mine even if it F* kills me!". Great acting by Michael Caine. Brian displays a brutal nature here.
The police now see archive footage of one of the thieves preparing for the heist dressed as a technician days before it all went down. They also see some footage of a thief (it appears to be Danny hehe) buying the pump used for the heist. The police are starting to connect the dots.
Brian burgle's one of the thieves (John) to find the loot. He has a conversation with him. John says that Terry is a psychopath and Danny (the youngest old man) is also a trouble maker. Brian organises a meeting with all the crew at a pub. One of the cops is there undercover! There is a recording device in a bread basket hehe.
Brian rings Basil and he doesn't believe him. The thieves say they did give him some gold.
"The Shirley Bassey song "The party's over" plays in the background, it's so cool. It's a sad part of the film, greed has turned the men against each other and the cops are on their tale"The cops say there was an unidentified male at scene (Basil). They can't seem to trace Basil.
Terry and Danny go to a friends house to get a smelter to melt the gold bars. The police are preparing a sting to get Terry, Danny and John at one of their houses were they are having a meeting. Basil stays in his own house, nervous. From this point it turns into more of a serious movie as the police are going to raid them. Sometimes this movie has a hard edge. The police also don't underestimate any of these ex-criminals even though they are older men!
The special forces team surround the house where the three old men are in. They arrest them and one says "Any chance of a cup of tea?". One of them has to pee in the sidewalk hehe. They also arrest Brian at his house. The mood of the movie is quite sad towards the end. Basil ends up getting away!
Now all of them are preparing to go to court. They dress in suits. There is old footage from when they were young. They were big time back then. It's quite cool. "I don't care about prison life, it's the after life that worries me" says Brian to the rest of the crew. They all get around 7 years in prison.
"This is Michael Caine back to his best. But I ask, hasn't he always performed at his best? This man still has screen presence and I doubt actors half his age have this kind of pull. What a great soundtrack. Jim Broadbent as Terry and Charlie Cox as Basil also put in strong performances"This movie has a great upbeat mood in the first half. There is comedy thrown in and the criminals are painted as cool. The second half of the film is about greed and how the crew end up losing it all. What an entertaining and memorable 1hr 48min.