TO STEAL FROM A THIEF [EDINBURGH FILM FESTIVAL]

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A group of thieves begin what was supposed to be the simple robbery of safety deposit boxes in a bank in Valencia. However, when their pre-dug escape tunnel becomes flooded by an unexpected deluge of rain, they are forced to frantically improvise a way out. Also, it turns out that one of the safety deposit boxes they are robbing contains some damning evidence placed by a former government official now in a coma, and some shady fixer types are brought in to resolve the situation at any cost.

To Steal from a Thief starts off well, wasting little time in getting the heist underway and establishing the ruthless nature of the robbers, and before long everyone is trapped inside with an army of police besieging the bank. However, it soon descends into a by-the-numbers crime thriller with little to distinguish it from others of its ilk.

Only two of the robbers have any real presence, and even though some of the bank’s customers taken hostage are given some very brief characterisation at the start with their financial issues and why they were in the bank in the first place, this is soon forgotten about and afterwards they become little more than anonymous extras. Likewise, the manipulative bank manger, who after performing her plot-required actions is quickly relegated from the action.

For what is supposed to be a crime thriller, the film is not actually all that riveting. For much of it there is no real sense of danger in regards to the plight of the hostages, so the only people left for whom there could be any fallout from events are a bunch of thieves who aren’t interesting enough to make you care about them, and some unseen politicians, who are by default unsympathetic on account of their chosen profession if not because we never actually see any of them who could be directly affected.

As the film begins, there is a slight indication it may be another reaction to the financial crisis and suggest that banks are just as big a bunch of thieves, if not even more so, as the crooks who rob them (even the title would suggest this), but this is soon lost amidst the vaguely sketched political wrangling.

Unlike, say, Spike Lee’s Inside Man, which (overtly smug ending aside) was a great example of a protracted bank heist movie with an added mystery at its heart, little that To Steal From a Thief has to offer raises it above the average. Too much focus on a nebulous conspiracy plot and not enough on the characters who are supposed to drive it result in something largely forgettable.

TO STEAL FROM A THIEF / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: DANIEL CALPARSORO / SCREENPLAY: JORGE GUERRICAECHEVARRIA / STARRING: LUIS TOSAR, RODRIGO DE LA SERNA, RAUL ARVELO, JOSE CORONADO, PATRICIA VICO, JOAQUIN FURRIEL / RELEASE DATE: TBC

Expected Rating: 7 out of 10

Actual Rating:
 


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