Set in 2015, co-writer and director Ronnie Thompson's exceptionally stylish film is the true (mostly) story of the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Robbery, where four older gentlemen who are pushing retirement took a bank for £200-million and became the stuff of legend, pulling off what was called 'the largest heist in English legal history', it's a story so unbelievable that it was only a matter of time before someone turned it into a film.
Safe-cracker films can be tricky to pull off. After all, we are essentially watching someone break into a door, so how do you keep it lively? Particularly when the events are so recent that the facts are readily available at the touch of a button?
Thompson and co-writers, Ray Bogdanovich and Dean Lines, smartly focus on the 'how' of the robbery. Google will allow you to, pretty quickly, discover the fate of the group, but what is murky in the articles is the thieves methodology and, wisely, that's what ONE LAST HEIST gives us.
There is the obvious nods to the films of Guy Richie (split screens, voice overs, etc) and while their stylistic flourishes can sometimes labor Thompson's film errs on the side of caution, never overusing the tropes and miraculously only relying on them when they work.
Unlike Richie though, OLH is surprisingly tame when it comes to the sort of colourful language and violence that might be expected in British gangster films. Perhaps it's because it's not really a gangster film at its core, but rather a film about some delightful guys (who like a cup of tea and a triangle-cut sandwich for lunch) who just happen to rob safes... It's kinda like the film you'd imagine Richie and Loach would make if they ever met at a truck-stop diner and spun a yarn.
Thompson scored lucky with his cast. Every single player oozes charm and affability. They're gruff and professional without ever losing their warmth and humanity. The kind of guys you'd like to see get away with the job. Mathew Good as XXX, the one fabricated character in the film, is actually the one with the least to do, seemingly falling short of the others amiability in order to purely serve the story. Shame.
ONE LAST HEIST won't be a major home-entertainment release but it is most definitely one you should seek out. Infinitely better than a hundred shitty Nicholas Sparks adaptations.