Army of Thieves
| October 29, 2021 (United States)
Director: Matthias SchweighöferWriter: Zack Snyder, Shay HattenStars: Matthias Schweighöfer, Nathalie Emmanuel, Ruby O. Fee
Summary: A prequel, set before the events of Army of the Dead, which focuses on German safecracker Ludwig Dieter leading a group of aspiring thieves on a top secret heist during the early stages of t... Read all
Countries: Germany, United StatesLanguages: English, French, German, Czech, Portuguese
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File No – YTS921-10434
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Army of Thieves 2021 Movie Review
Army of Thieves 2021, Sebastian (Matthias Schweighöfer) is the talkative, highly skilled, but insecure protagonist of “Army of Thieves.” He may have been the offspring of Hans Landa and Danny Ocean. He’s a Berlin office teller who doesn’t want anybody to know that he’s a secret safecracker. He’s not a criminal, per per, but rather a brilliant enthusiast who dreams of cracking metal fortress vaults in the same way that a young Midwest theatre bug would dream of making his Broadway debut.
Zack Snyder’s post-apocalyptic zombie heist thriller “Army of the Dead” has a prequel called “Army of Thieves,” in which Sebastian (then known as Dieter) joins a group of criminals in Las Vegas. Snyder’s film, which came out just five months ago, was a fun, overcrowded mash-up of genres. Matthias Schweighöfer, the film’s lead, also served as director (working from a storyline by Zack Snyder and Shay Hatten). “Army of Thieves” is essentially the backstory of a sidekick. That’s not to knock Schweighhöfer’s Sebastian, who plays the part well as a likeable Teutonic overgrown youngster. On the other hand! The whole criminal underworld action film in “Army of Thieves” revolves on this blathering scamp in a three-piece suit.
The movie doesn’t put as much effort into the comic complexity of the planning required to rob a bank as it claims to. It realises that the “Ocean’s” movies have probably already done whatever it is it is going to do better. Here, though, are “Army of Thieves'” humorous, unexpected, and sometimes endearing qualities. Sebastian, a safecracking artist with a pop-eyed look behind his shock of blond hair like a bizarrely honest Malcolm McLaren, is eager and addled yet never out of the spotlight. Much of the video focuses on the magical cleverness of seeing him unlock these safes, in particular a set of four safes made by a German locksmith as a tribute to Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle of operas.
These wall safes are spherical, and their elaborate complexity lends them an air of old sci-fi mystery. One of the most exciting parts of the movie is when Sebastian, who is portrayed as the greatest safecracker ever, is confronted with one of these devices without any prior knowledge and works out how to unlock it. Sebastian is just classical enough to utilize…his ear, whereas most movie safecrackers dating all the way back to James Caan in “Thief” use a mix of technological skill and laser-like weaponry. He moves a dial and puts his ear to the safe, where he can hear and almost feel the rows of gears meshing into position. Even though it’s cheesy to say, the editing of these scenes is brilliant, as is the depiction of the safes’ inner workings. At certain moments, “Army of Thieves” displays a nimble, kinetic energy that calls to mind the “Now You See Me” movies and “The Prestige.” When the safes open with a clattering, industrial-sounding thud, the sight of millions of dollars stacked within is, in and of itself, a bit of a letdown. Getting inside is the most important part.
Sebastian is enticed to join a gang of criminals who plan to rob the Rheingold, Valkyrie, and Siegfried safes by participating in an underground safecracking tournament, which he wins easily. We’re informed that nobody knows where they are, but this group does: they’re hiding out at prestigious financial institutions in Paris and Prague, as well as a casino in St. Moritz. Nathalie Emmanuel (Ramsey from the “Fast and Furious” movie), who plays jewel thief Gwendoline with extremely flirty flair, breaks character for an instant during the second robbery to beat the living daylights out of the four security guards who are guarding the safe. She’s a really believable action heroine, but you can’t help but wonder: Is this how they’re going to stay undercover? No matter how implausible the theft may be in reality, the film must convince us that it is happening at every step.
Gwendoline’s glance at our youthful hero is equal parts admiration and mockery. Besides her, the crew consists of Korina (Ruby O. Fee), a slender bohemian hacker; Rolph (Guz Khan), a getaway driver who, despite his dark high hair and long beard, has a winning way with a scowling putdown; and her violent boyfriend, the self-named action dude Brad Cage (Stuart Martin), who is like an angry Hugh Jackman.
Amidst a period of relative calm, Sebastian is abruptly expelled from the gang and must escape the authorities while pedalling furiously around Prague to the rhythms of the “Run Lola Run 2” soundtrack. But he eventually finds his way back to them, or at least the ones he can count on. In the vein of other Netflix action movies like “The Raid” and “The Purge,” “Army of Thieves” is a brash, over-the-top fantasy with a romantic core. Except for a few brief cameos in the form of zombie dreams, there are no zombies throughout the story. But the film ultimately leads the audience to Las Vegas, where they will be tempted by the Götterdämmerung, the last act in Wagner’s Ring Cycle. If you’ve seen “Army of the Dead,” you already know what happens. Although, in comparison to that film, this one seems more like a Robin-centric precursor to Batman.