It’s a heist film for the action lover, with no sense of reality or understanding
Den Of Thieves is marred by a truly horrific performance from Gerard Butler. Looking like a shriveled walnut soaked in too much whiskey, Butler wanders around the set as if he were a king in police uniform. The rest of the film follows suit as a general waste of time, but Butler is particularly terrible, throughout.
The plot tracks a group of bank robbers as they attempt to steal from the most secure vault in America. Led by Ray (Pablo Schreiber) the team set up an elaborate plan to overcome the high level of surveillance, and leave the scene in Donnie’s (O’Shea Jackson Jr.) getaway car. Their job is made infinitely more difficult by the constant chase from Nick O’Brien (Gerard Butler) and his corrupt section of the police force.
As a production, Den Of Thieves is far less gun heavy than it first seems, trying to promote a strong and clever plot, which is neither strong nor particularly clever. It’s educated but not even remotely innovative. This isn’t helped by its paper-thin and cliched script. Den Of Thieves often finds itself looking towards dialogue for answers and just coming up empty-handed.
The occasional highlight usually arrives in the palms of O’Shea Jackson Jr., who’s great outward demeanour often gives films a unique lift, as it did with Ingrid Goes West. The rest of the cast appear way out of their depth, especially when any form of emotional input is called upon, perhaps making Jackson Jr. seem even better.
It’s a heist film for the action lover, with no sense of reality or understanding. Far too much of the film is taken up explaining why things need to be done, rather than showing any of its own intuition. Den Of Thieves brings nothing new to the table, only reinforcing Gerard Butler’s permanent place in Hollywood’s junkyard.