Den of Thieves (7/10)
by Tony Medley
Runtime 140 minutes
Not for children.
I don’t know where writer/director Christian Gudegast gets his
information. He was a screenwriter for
Olympus Has Fallen
which his star in this movie, Gerard Butler, also starred. But, while
this is an interesting, tense bank robbery heist thriller, it is also a
libel on the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.
“Big” Nick O’Brien (Butler) is an arrogant, cocky, foulmouthed leader of
a squad in the Sheriff’s Department called the Regulators, defined as
“an elite major crimes squad.” I don’t think a group of policemen as
lawless as these would last long in any Police Department. They are
strictly a fiction of Gudegast’s imagination and there really doesn’t
seem to be any reason for him to create them as being so barbaric.
What’s sad about this is that after about the first hour when the bad
guys, led by Ray Merriman (Pablo Schreiber), start to execute their
devious plan the film is captivating, even though the dénouement contains
absurdly ridiculous violence that would never happen on a Los Angeles
street, or any street in America.
As a result, the film is full of plot holes aplenty. For instance, Gudegast
throws in a B story (that’s being generous; it barely qualifies as a Z
story) about O’Brien’s relationship with his wife and daughters. It has
absolutely no bearing on the story and, in fact, Gudegast brings it up,
shows some scenes, and then lets it die, never to be mentioned again. If
I were his editor I would cut the entire situation and shorten the film
by at least 20 minutes.
Worse, even though the heist is interesting and presented in a manner
that captures the viewer’s attention, it is totally incomprehensible.
What are they doing? Why? What happened? How did it work? In the end,
you don’t find out answers to these questions. Maybe Gudegast doesn’t
know either. He had what he thought was a good idea, couldn’t figure out
exactly how what they do could be accomplished, but put it on the screen
As you can tell, this is another film that needs some serious editing.
When we exited the screening I asked my assistant several questions
about what was going on and why and she didn’t have a clue either. Even
so, it’s a fun film to watch and holds your interest