A gritty crime saga which follows the lives of an elite unit of the LA County Sheriff's Dept. and the state's most successful bank robbery crew as the outlaws plan a seemingly impossible heist on the Federal Reserve Bank.
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A frustrated man decides to take justice into his own hands after a plea bargain sets one of his family's killers free. He targets not only the killer but also the district attorney and others involved in the deal.
A gritty L.A crime saga which follows the intersecting and often personally connected lives of an elite unit of the LA County Sheriff's Dept. and the state's most successful bank robbery crew as the outlaws plan an impossible heist on the Federal Reserve Bank of downtown Los Angeles.Written by
When Donnie is in the count room bagging up the $100 bills to be shredded, he bags either 12 or 13 relatively small bags the appear to weigh in the 2 to 3 pound range. The goal of the robbery was $30 million. Based on the weight of $100 bills, $1 million weighs 22.05 pounds. Even if each bag had $1 million, that would equate to 280 pounds of cash which is clearly not the case. Also, if each bag weighed 5 pounds each, the would equal just under $3 million total. $30 million in $100 bills weighs 661.5 pounds. See more »
The location in Pico Rivera is given as the intersection of Atlantic and Wilcox. These streets do not intersect, but run parallel and are located in cities west of Pico Rivera. See more »
a highly successful debut, especially for a January release
Den of Thieves is a good example of a filmmaker taking inspiration visually and with the entire setting and mood and pitting of two sides - it's Heat, alright, it's damn Heat - and it actually being a strong effort. Christian Gudegast, who co-wrote and directed this 140 minute tribute to mandom in its bullet-flying, hard-drinking, muscle-bound weight-lifting tattooed uber-machismo, makes his debut as director here, and while it can never really live up to what Michael Mann did with his piece of "Guy" cinema, it also doesn't come with its high expectations and overly grandiose sense of epic pretention (and I don't mean that as a put down exactly for Heat, but... it is a movie very full of its importance, anticipated actor team-up besides). Den of Thieves cares about what it's trying to do, and that can go a long way for me in a world where a lot of filmmakers just come in and are lazy AF.
It's the over-long (by at least ten minutes) take on Los Angeles grit and it hearkens to a tradition of heist movies with tough criminals and tough cops. Melville of course this ain't, but I might hope that some plucky 17 or 18 year old growing in love with movies finds this in a near-empty February cineplex (or, in a few months, on any video platform) and may be inspired to seek out more. It's Gerard Butler vs Pablo Schrieber (with O'Shea Jackson Jr fully in the mix as the driver for the latter's crew, fully making a mark for himself not just as Ice Cube Jr, though the resemblance certainly helps at least at first), and it's unapologetic about its characters. This isn't to say that the movie necessarily *endorses* how they behave, at least I'd hope not. I do think the filmmaker does find this tough and exciting and hopes we will too. Does he indulge a bit much? Well, let's say that 50 Cent confronting his daughter's prom date is so 'on the cutting room floor' ready it's puzzling why it's here past a probably final cut (or maybe no one really cared as it's an under-the-radar middle-budget January release)
But the direction, how Gudegast and his camera operators move the compositions and know how to frame people and make a mood for a scene, is good. Really good. Maybe to that point where I could kind of forget about Christopher Nolan's own homaging in past films, though without the same sense of coherent visual grammar as this guy here (not to say he's *better* than Nolan, let's not get into that discussion). The point is that in the script and in how he directs the actors - most especially Butler, who I've never had any strong affinity for (sometimes disliked his attempts to be tough that come off lame in other films), but taps into a character he gives a damn about, his many, many warts and horrible parts and all - he is trying to craft a genuinely gripping story, which involves a plot to rob the Federal Reserve counting room in LA, and does so.
Again, some of this can be chalked up to low expectations, but I always like to go into crime films, especially the heist sub-genre, with all the hope and good will that I can afford as a fan. This filmmaker is a fan, and not an obnoxious one which is a key distinction. There aren't attempts at any sort of deeper commentary about how the cops or criminals operate, but that's okay; we just have to accept Butler's Nick and his wild bunch of "bad" cops have carved their own hardcore niche out (they're not entirely corrupt persay, just dirty and full of sh***t folks), and yet there's enough to understand how the criminals operate too, that they're largely either ex-Marines or ex sports aspirants. I'm not a hundred percent sure how close it hews to real life, but it creates its own reality.... a bloody, beefy, characters-sometimes-saying-homophobic crap group of people.
This doesn't mean that it has some kind of grand artistic pedestal to stand on, and I thought of a couple of plot-holes that were glaring in relation to what Nick and his cops would/wouldn't tell the people working in the Fed Reserve building given that they saw Donnie go in as the "Chinese food guy" to keep an eye out for. But if you like movies that are largely intelligently made, care about putting in a modicum of work into creating characters and relationships and, sure, even giving Nick a couple of kids taken away from him and so on etc (and that does work, surprisingly so), this hits the spot. At least it did for me.
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