Few in American history have pulled off the perfect heist, like the leader of the “Wild Butch Gang,” Butch Cassidy or Bonnie and Clyde, making them infamous figures. The tales about some of these incidents have been passed off for years, treading the line between fact and fiction, because they are just so unbelievable.
Recently, fictional stories about heists such as “Logan Lucky” and the upcoming “Ocean’s 8” take to the big screen, with the newest addition to the genre being “Den of Thieves.” The film takes a new approach, by creating a cohesive dynamic that shows what goes on in the heads of the robbers and those trying to stop them.
Starring Gerard Butler as the head of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department elite unit going against the robbers played by O’Shea Jackson Jr., Pablo Schreiber and Curtis 50 Cent, who are trying to steal $30 million from the Federal Reserve Bank in Los Angeles. The entire film is an exciting and suspenseful ride.
A key aspect of the film is the cinematography and scenery, which creates a grittier look into Los Angeles. Dark and eerie factories dominate the scenes in familiar streets which can cause many to wonder what actually goes on in the glamorous city.
The story being told juxtaposed to the film’s action creates a whirlwind of emotions. Although the action in the film is important to convey the severity of the robbery, the characters are the heart of the movie. They have interactions with one another that drastically build up the tension, broken up by the humorous moments that sometimes run unnecessarily long.
Going beyond typical gun fights, “Den of Thieves” includes the daily lives and misfortunes of both the robbers and the police.
In this role as a cop, Butler isn’t a stickler for the rules, making for an intimidating antagonistic character. However, his inner demons being told on screen are so convincing that one can begin to sympathize with him at times.
On the other hand, Jackson portrays innocent and doe-eyed Donnie who is different from the rest of the group of robbers. He is much younger and has a decent job which begs the question: Why would this young man want to rob a bank? Jackson creates empathy through his character.
This film does an amazing job of creating anticipation in its significant scenes, vital conversations and superb acting. “Den of Thieves,” and other heist films just like it, will always be popular due to the intrigue in planning and executing the perfect crime.