Mindless entertainer propelled by great performances

Movie Review: ‘Army of Thieves’

  • Release Date: 29/10/2021   
  • Platform: Netflix
  • Cast: Matthias Schweighöfer, Nathalie Emmanuel, Ruby O. Fee, Stuart Martin, Guz Khan
  • Director: Matthias Schweighöfer

Army of Thieves is a prequel to Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead that proved to be a bitter-sweet experience for me. The one definitive positive thing that I took home from the film was the hilarious character of Dieter (Matthias Schweighöfer), a thoughtful and delicate German safe cracker who finds himself among a group of men who are dangerously high on testosterone and adrenaline. Army of Thieves introduces us to the humble beginnings of Dieter when he was not Dieter but Sebastian. Sebastian is recruited by Gwendoline (Nathalie Emmanuel), an international thief of repute and skill to crack 4 un-crack-able safes. The safes were built by a legendary Hans Wagner and were conceptualized on the stories, nuances, and themes of Richard Wagner’s epic musical dramas, Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring Cycle).

I had a good time with this film. I wasn’t expecting much from it but the film was able to capture my imagination from the very beginning. The primary reason for that was the outrageously hilarious and yet subtle performance of Matthias Schweighöfer as Sebastian. The very first time we see him, it is made abundantly clear that he is completely alone and while he thinks very highly of his own safe-cracking skills, the rest of the world doesn’t even know that he exists. While we know that eventually, he will become a master safecracker in Army of the Dead, it isn’t made clear here if that was already the case thus maintaining a semblance of intrigue. We see him come into his own in the first challenge that he faces where his character is required to open three safes. This sequence plays out wonderfully as we see him move from being someone who has no idea of what was happening to actually winning the challenge.

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