It’s a cliché in heist movies that the thieves swear they’re only going to do “one last job.” But in BritBox’s “The Heist at Hatton Garden,” it’s highly believable when the robbers insist this will be their last crime.
First of all, if they end up stealing millions of dollars in cash, jewelry and other items, they will never need to commit another crime. Secondly, at least half of them are already past retirement age.
The four-part miniseries, which premiered last week on BritBox, is a fact-based thriller based on a real robbery that occurred in 2015 in London’s diamond district. Over Easter weekend, a team of elderly thieves broke into a safe deposit box vault in the middle of the night and stole millions (worth up to 200 million pounds by some estimates), much of it valuables owned by private citizens.
Written and produced by Jeff Pope, the show is meticulous at recreating how the actual heist went down. This is no glamorous and smooth “Ocean’s 11” style robbery, but a sweaty, chaotic feat of engineering, as the thieves figured out how to evade alarms, drill through solid rock and extract a van full of valuables out of the building without being detected.
Timothy Spall (“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”) is probably the most recognizable actor to American audiences, playing the second-in-command of the team. Kenneth Cranham plays Brian Reader, the mastermind of the operation. These are hardened criminals, not likable antiheroes. The series takes pains to show they were stealing the irreplaceable treasures of ordinary people, much of which has never been recovered.
Still, it’s gripping to watch the thieves confront setback after setback (Spall’s character goes into diabetic shock midway through the heist, which really happened) and still pull off the job in the first two episodes. The final two episodes show the aftermath, as the thieves hid the loot, turned on each other and were eventually brought to justice.
For such a realistic take on the heist drama, some of the dialogue feels a little clichéd, as if it was taken from an old gangster movie. But, otherwise, “The Heist at Hatton Garden” is a lean and mean thriller.
Also on streaming: Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” returns Friday with all new comedians, all new cars and more caffeine. Seth Rogen, Ricky Gervais, Eddie Murphy and Melissa Villasenor are among the guests who hop in vintage autos to chat with Seinfeld. Also returning Friday on Netflix is a new season of “Queer Eye,” so if it’s as hot as it was last weekend, you should have your streaming plans all set.
After they’re done with “Hatton Garden,” fans of British thrillers should check out the second season of “London Kills,” which premiered Monday on Acorn. The show follows a homicide squad in London, mixing case-of-the-week investigations with an ongoing story about the lead detective’s search for his missing wife.