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In their own words and with unprecedented access, the most successful jewel thieves of all time take you into their world: the post-Milosevic Balkans, the modern diamond trade and a 21st Century crime gang. But as the thieves brazenly commit their crimes across the world - Europe, Asia and The U.A.E. - Interpol and global police forces are tightening their grip. As many of the criminals responsible for are caught and extradited, this film asks: Is this the end of the Pink Panthers? Written by
'Smash 'n' Grab' is a stylish documentary, but not a completely satisfactory one. The story of a real life gang stealing jewelry, it paints a picture that really is like the movies, a world of glamour, audacity, beautiful decoys and violence, underpinned by the semi-criminal state of post-Communist Yugoslavia. Indeed, the film could be accused of glamorising its protagonists, who speak on camera, but represented in animated form. Yet the bigger picture is somehow missed: this is a gang from which 189 people have been arrested: the word "gang" seems less appropriate than the word "mafia", but the story is presented in something of the spirit of a boys-own adventure. Although the police are also featured, they don't get to tell us much, leaving the audience mainly with the story of the crooks. It's an entertaining and amazing story, but it leaves one with a sense that there's a true nastiness to this world that has been left unexplored.
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