Movie Review: Den of Thieves (2018)

 

Written and directed by Christian Gudegast in his feature film directorial debut, Den of Thieves is a 2018 action-thriller-heist movie, currently available on Netflix. Big Nick O’Brien (Gerard Butler) is the self-destructive leader of a group of specialist LA county sheriffs with a personal vendetta against notorious bank robber Ray Merrimen (Pablo Schreiber). When Nick suspects Merrimen to be targeting the Los Angeles Federal Reserve, he endeavours to bring down Merrimen and his crew, once and for all.

+ I really, really enjoyed the dynamic between the two main characters, as they each straddled the line between cop and criminal on opposite sides of the law. Big Nick (Butler) was a total prick and all around deplorable human being, but he was technically the hero, whilst Merrimen (Schrieber) was the noble, relatively pleasant bank robber. Suffice to say, my viewing partner and I were both rooting for Merrimen toward the end
+ 50 Cent (aka Curtis Jackson, the rapper) plays Levi, Merrimen’s second in command, and I really enjoyed his character, especially as he gets the movie’s big comedy scene. O’Shea Jackson Jr. (Straight Outta Compton), Cooper Andrews (Shazam!) and UFC fighter Max Holloway also have a role on Merrimen’s crew, and overall the varied sort of characters on the team really make for a fun ensemble
+ the twist and turns come at a reasonable pace. I wasn’t entirely sold on one or two (one big one in particular), but in general there is nothing too silly, and it will keep you guessing as you go — just don’t think about it too much
+ though not really a full-blown action movie, several scenes, including a very tense opening and the final action set piece were both phenomenal. The same tension that builds from every bank heist scene for any movie is found in full here, abut the slow build heists, and fast acting shootouts never feel like too heavy a mood whiplash

– the movie is quite long, at well over 2 hours, but that was only a minor issue; only once did I think to myself ‘I wonder how much longer this has’, only to see I was not even half way. From there, the pace rarely let up and I was never found wondering again
– it’s a minor complaint, but I hate it when the Netflix preview image is from a scene more than half way through the movie. It spoiled one scene in particular, which really grinds my gears

Should you see this film: This was perfectly fine, as a mixture of something like Inside Man and Law Abiding Citizen. There were a few twist and turns I just didn’t feel, but in the end this was a well-acted bank heist movie, with two very strong leads.

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