A trend that’s becoming increasingly more popular comes in the form of longer runtimes. Sometimes they’re necessary while other times it’s just pointless blather. For a movie such as Den of Thieves to come in with such a hefty runtime (140 minutes), I immediately cringed. How long does a run of the mill cops and robbers flick have to be? And to top it off, we’re talking about a feature that is completed devoid (arguably of course) of a strong leading cast. Oh, and let’s not forget that this coming out during one of the box office’s main dead zones. Those were just a few of the negative conclusions I jumped to prior to actually seeing this movie.
Den of Thieves is billed as a gritty crime drama featuring a gang of modern day bank bandits, led by a cool as ice criminal named Merrimen (Pablo Schreiber) that goes head-to-head with Los Angeles’ Major Crimes unit, with Nick Flanagan (Gerard Butler) leading his team. While Merrimen and his merry men of mischief make plans of one more big score, Nick’s guys behind the shield will stop at nothing to bring these thugs to justice. The thin blue line between what’s right and what’s wrong is burred as each side will do whatever it takes to win. Who will you be rooting for to come out on top?
Gerard Butler gives one of his better performances in this role. Credit director and writer Christian Gudegast for putting him in a position to succeed. Den of Thieves plays to his strengths, making this more of a believable fit than…say a one man wrecking crew tasked with saving the president. His character is not without his faults, actually he has many of them, which is what makes his storyline so compelling. On the other side, Pablo Schreiber is a complete bad ass and he commands the focus to be on him when he’s front and center. Other actors that get into the fun are O’Shea Jackson Jr. and 50 Cent. Again, good casting and solid performances.
The mix between story and action is a good one. Also, you’ll find yourselves actually caring about these characters. Den of Thieves is rich in character development where everything isn’t black or white. This movie, for the most part, lives in that little grey area in between. With all that goes on with the plot, there is much to cover so its runtime doesn’t feel overly long. There is a lot to like about how this story is pieced together.
I had my reservations going into this one with a mid-January release date. Den of Thieves delivers a surprisingly rich story filled with character conflicts and intense action scenes. Give credit where credit is due. Many movies in this particular genre would take the safe, predictable route. Christian Gudegast takes a few risks and it pays off. The overall story is rich with detail that cannot be appreciated until this experience is finished and one can step back and admire the big picture. For your money and your valuable time, this is the one movie I would recommend against all others to see this weekend.