Den of Thieves Review
Heist films have been flooding the movie screens in recent years and have been slowly gaining traction with movie audiences around the world. Many would sit in anticipation to see how a likeable group of criminals would pull a fast one on a, typically, crooked government organization to pull in a highly valuable load. These films offered audiences a time where they would find themselves actually rooting for the “bad guys.”
However, big-name franchises like the Fast and Furious series, have taken heist films away from the more calculated criminals we typically seen on-screen and brought us more comedic action heroes that survive, literally, impossible odds. So it comes at a rarity when we see heist films diverge from this formula and bring in more grounded and intelligent characters that make us question whether or not we should actually be rooting for them. Thankfully, Christian Gudagest’s Den of Thieves offers both the thrilling and suspenseful action of many heist films we see today as well as the charismatic and inventive characters that we have long-awaited to see again.
The film follows a group of Los Angeles thieves (Pablo Schreiber, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, O’Shea Jackson Jr.) as they try to rake in the ultimate payload from the Federal Reserve while trying to evade L.A. Major Crimes officer Nick Flanagan (Gerard Butler) and his elite team. With both parties operating by a high risk, high reward mentality, the stage is set for an explosive battle of wits and wills among the Los Angeles streets.
Some of Den of Thieves brightest moments come from the film’s ability to give insight on the entire cast of characters. While many might see them on opposite sides of the law, audiences will see that these thieves and officers think very alike and are quite worthy opponents of one another. Both factions feature the firing expertise that would make them deadly with any weapon in hand as well as the creativity and tactics to get through any tough situation. Not only does it make us invested when rubber meets the road and the bullets begin to fly, but it makes us more interested in their personal lives when film slows down from time to time.
Butler and Schreiber’s performances are definitely stand-outs with the two showcasing their character’s brooding and dark inner demons as well as their broken spirits.
The film also offers audiences suspenseful and dramatic action sequences that will undoubtedly keep audiences on the edge of their seats. Now while these action sequences aren’t anything out the norm for the genre, they do their part in keeping the audience’s attention towards the screen. These dramatic moments only last for a short time though, allowing us to get more light-hearted and comedic moments that can give us an even deeper look into the strengths and flaws of Butler and Schreiber’s characters.
So while Den of Thieves isn’t anything to different from the slew of heist films we have seen thus far, and that we will surely get more of, it does offer a great cast of characters and some plot moments that many will find to be reminiscent of classics, like The Usual Suspects. Den of Thieves is definitely a must-see and brings heist films back into a more calculated and story-driven direction.