Den Of Thieves / Christian Gudegast (2018). Violent criminals who plan complicated robbery/heist schemes vs. violent cops who kidnap and torture suspects for information. I was rooting for the criminals. The cops are an elitist group within the Los Angeles County Sherriff’s department. They are led by “Big Nick” O’Brien (Gerard Butler) who suspects that gang leader Ray Merrimen (Pablo Schreiber) is up to something huge after he is suspected of stealing an empty armored car and engaging in a fire fight in the process leaving several people dead. Merrimen’s goal (told us in the early going) is to rob the Federal Reserve Bank in L.A., the most secure building in the country. Normally, I am a sucker for a heist film and have a high tolerance for nonsense in them, but “Den of Thieves” is mainly a cacophony of noise, automatic weapons fire, and brutal men chasing each other down. The last 90 seconds or so of the movie hits us with a reveal that almost (almost, I say, but not quite) saves the whole mess.
I don't think you fully understand, Mr. Bigelow. You've been murdered.
It takes itself a little more seriously than than a lot of 'snatch and grab' crime movies nowadays. I'll give it that. And Pablo Schreiber and Gerard Butler are quite good in it. It seems the director and writer had a clear affinity for Michael Mann and Brian De Palma's work. But there was something slightly off about the whole thing. 5/10.
I liked the opening sequence and the final shoot-out was better than average. The unrated cut which I watched had a lot of redundant scenes and some subplots which didn't lead anywhere.
Gerard Butler gave a charismatic performance and Pablo Schreiber (who until now I was entirely unfamiliar with) did a solid job. But the writing was average and the final twist came out of nowhere. Overall the characters weren't likeable or interesting enough for me to care about them.
"I prefer reading to writing. Reading changes your worldview. Writing changes absolutely nothing. Except, of course, when it makes you rich." Michel Houellebecq