Den of Thieves Review 2018. Gerard Butler (Big Nick) is – as Gerard himself mentions it in Kimmel – “Silverback Gorilla”. Pure alpha male in a group of bunch of alpha males. He soon meets his match in the form of Pablo Schreiber’s character Merriman. Another totally buff, totally shredded, former Special Forces who is incredibly smart and highly intelligent.
Basically the movie is a tic-tac back and forth between their lives’ portrayals with some glimpses of 50’s life, O Shea and others’. I get that most people are trying to compare it to Heat, but for me it was more in line with Training Day. Now frankly, I went in with a Law Abiding Citizen mentality about a self-righteous cop(s) who break all the rules, acts as vigilante and makes their point proven with unconventional tactics.
It was actually nothing like that. It is heist film with a brilliant misdirection. It delivers all the macho, high octane action.
There are some subtleties and details that highly stands out:
-O Shea’s nostrils flaring after being harassed and bullied (loved this touch of microexpression ever since I saw in the trailer)
-The way the robbers step in or wade in. Almost as if wearing fins and they first slide in and step in with one foot and then the body follows. Of course, 50 and Gerard said how they trained to get the movement down in military fashion.
-Sushi bar scene, the Rowland Heights scene which truly depicts how a real Alpha carries himself was phenomenal. Loved the tension building and flaring and the subdued suspense and of course the breakup scene was strong
-The muscle of Butler and Schreiber in the final scene with each sinewy muscle mass pumping was brilliant.. Probably they pumped irons before shooting those scenes.
-Merriman character became a surprise favorite of mine
Merriman character is not that much of a downright and outright alpha. Not a grey man either. He is just trying to have a meal and chill with his “family” or makes his point proven in the shooting range without reacting directly to Butler from getting his paper target riddled center mass.
Now as far as the spoiler or twist. Well if the movie had no twist it actually would have been boring. Another Mann-ish drama about real life grit. Although putting the twist at the end may sacrifice some of the content and make it ‘cheesy’ (as some might object) but THAT actually makes it more unique, original and movie-y.
Listen. Reviews are subjective. C—pola like Wonder Woman – which is comparable to cringey chick flick – gets rave reviews by “stalwart” critics and these same critics lambaste this movie. Don’t listen to anyone else. Watch a movie, judge it for yourself and then you’d have much better understanding and appreciation how life operates.
For me art is something which “I” want to enjoy and savor again and again and again and again… This movie passes it on all accounts. A movie doesn’t have to Oscar nominated with Brandeberg Concerto or discussing pilpul of Rauschenberg in Annie Hall-y style to get my respect. All “I” care is what makes me happy. That is art for me. What “I” want to watch again and again and again..