2 out of 10

Release Date: 17th October 2016 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Terry Lee Coker (Essex Vendetta)

Cast: Michael McKell, Sidney Livingstone, Robert Putt, James Osborne, Sidney Kean with Tony (AG) Armstrong and Ian Burfield

Writer: Terry Lee Coker, Michael McKell and Ian Burfield



Based on his short track record so far, Terry Lee Coker the film director is in the same league as Steve M Smith in the talent stakes. As a scriptwriter, he’s slightly better as he wrote but never directed Hooligan Legacy, which remains one of the best films with the word ‘Hooligan’ in the title. However, based on his script duties here and for the previous Essex Vendetta, something, somewhere doesn’t add up. I won’t spell it out.

To the film, Hatton Garden,  Coker’s second film as director and his second collaboration with part-time crooner Michael McKell (DOCTORS) and Ian Burfield (THE INTERNATIONAL), two reasonably decent actors.  Moving on from the tedious Essex Boys murders, here’s the first in a series of repetitive films about the Hatton Garden Diamond Heist. Perpertrated by four OAPS and a younger mystery man called Basil, judging by this film the aftermath was far more interesting then the set-up, my god this film is boring and dare I say it pointless.

The leading actors who portray the four robbers (there were six in real life) make the cast of the Last of the Summer Wine look like the cast of Avenger’s Assemble.  It’s like watching an episode of Eastenders where the cast filled their shoes with concrete and took a whopping does of ketamine. The director looks like he left the catering staff to do his job and it’s just a shambles but a boring one at the that. Short lines of dialogue are delviered slowly and the gaps between lines of dialogue are gargantuan, and it’s not Pinter. It’s zed-grade drama, thin tension and a completely rush job. The only thing this film succeeds in doing is making Essex Vendetta seem interesting. And that is a proper achievement.

As the four lags are found, they proceed to run rings and some very stupid cops in some of the worst police interrogation scenes you’ll ever see. This even gives Steve Dolton’s cop in the Haunting of Annie Dyer a run for its money. And these scenes are the best at highlighting what a lazy attempt to cash in on a famous crime this is.

2 out of 10 – Slapdash and boring, this could be the worst heist you’ll ever see. Shat on Gardens more like.

Another review by Matt Usher below




  1. If ever you’ve thought ‘I’d like to take part in a heist’ then this is the film for you. Sitting through HATTON GARDEN THE HEIST is enough to put anybody off a career in crime (or movies) for life. Not because of the danger, or the consequences of getting caught, or the moral depravity, but because it makes burglary look like really dull work.

    You may recall the Hatton Garden Robbery as it occurred relatively recently (thus obviating the necessity on the film-makers’ part to research period detail). Apparently it’s the Crime of the Century, involving four old(ish) career criminals (who were pretty rubbish as they spent decades inside), who decided to go on one last mission and rob the Hatton Garden security deposit box cellar thing. They decided on this momentous plan during a dreary afternoon down the pub, where they met Basil, a figure destined to go down in urban legend as a mysterious man of mystery, but conspicuous here in that, although the youngest man at the top secret gathering, he’s the only one with a wig. Anyway, they drilled into the safe, made off with some swag, then got caught.

    This film tells the tale even more flatly than my description above. Not only is it painfully boring to watch, it looks like it was boring to make, and the crime seems a bothersome chore. I think they were trying to make ‘perpetrating a heist’ look like a welcome respite from the quotidian ills of queuing at the chemist, worrying about the prostate, catching a bus. Alas they make the Crime of the Century seem like just another irritant to add to that shopping list of tedium. Indeed, one of our ageing gangsters gets bored and goes home halfway through – citing the ‘never return to the scene’ maxim as his excuse but he was fooling nobody.

    But why did the others return? The buffoons hired a dodgy drill, so they had to have another go. Cretins. Mind you, the way this lot lumber listlessly about, it’s a wonder they remembered to show up in the first place. Even the security guards didn’t notice (the best story I heard – not included in the film – is that a nightwatchman did hear suspicious sounds but didn’t investigate as he wasn’t paid enough to put his life at risk.). The drill stuff goes on forever. I guess it’s accurate but couldn’t the film-makers have made something up to relieve the monotony?

    The film attempts to inject a note of (possibly deliberate) comedy with the arrival of the police. Being the Crime of the Century, the powers-that-be assign just two policemen to the case, one with a beard fit for a nineteenth century Russian count, the other looking like a podgy, perspiring Jimmy White. They solve the case after spotting one of the felonious dumbos driving a car or something. (Not a spoiler – this is surely all on the public record.)

    My parents once watched a film about some pensioners who robbed a bank because they were bored (Going In Style, with George Burns). It portrayed sweet old men who just wanted to liven things up. Crucially, it was American, with fun characters. Old British blokes are, of course, famously grumpy and thoroughly incapable of enjoying anything (proven fact). This is reflected here: they’re a miserable bunch of pub bores with all the joie de vivre and gay abandon of Victor Meldrew and Alf Garnett. Eventually they argue over the division of the spoils. In, say, a Tarantino film, this would be the cue for vigorous disagreement and death. Here, there’s a grumbling shrug of shoulders, miserable murmurs, and then they’re back to business. I suppose that’s all very British (and possibly accurate), but every time the film opens up a new avenue it’s as if the writers decide not to bother. The writers are Terry Lee Coker, fast becoming the spiritual heir to Paul Tanter, and two of the film’s stars: Ian Burfield (sporting the immensely imperial beard) and dear Michael McKell. Mckell is perfectly adequate as ‘Basil’, the supposed ‘brains’ of the operation. He labours beneath a (deliberately) bad wig for most of the duration, and croons ruthlessly over the closing credits (not to my taste but others are welcome to demur). Perhaps Mr McKell sees himself as the next Dennis Waterman, but, here at least, he lacks the necessary charisma. However, he’s given himself the dullest of dull roles, the serious-minded moderately competent fixer. Robert Putt enjoys himself as an old lag. Sidney Livingstone struggles as ‘the guv’nor’; rarely has an actor exuded less authority since my own board-treading days. Sidney Kean is perhaps the most believable, but none convince as being ex-desperadoes desperate to be feared again.

    It feels like, rather than doing any research, the film-makers flung in everything they could remember from reading the papers. There’s one telling point though: the what-happened-next caption tells us that loads of loot is still missing, and that one of the deposit box owners has failed to approach the police. The implication is that the bewigged Basil has stolen something highly sensitive that the owner cannot retrieve legally. Fair enough. But hang on, only one person had dodgy stuff? That’s disappointing, if true. Surely all deposit boxes are overflowing with Nazi paraphernalia, child pornography, purloined jewels, and dead aliens? Even low-rent storage units are packed with dodgy merchandise according to the movies. The film therefore tells a different truth than the one it intended to, namely, that the British hide their bad stuff more effectively than anybody thought.

    HATTON GARDEN THE HEIST sets the bar very low. There’s another attempt out soon, and I suspect this story may turn out to be the germ from which numerous variations will spawn, virus-like. Just as the Rettendon Range Rover films splutter to the end of their unnatural life, now we have a new source for speculative true-ish crime films. They’ve got to be better than this surely?

    Alas, experience suggests not.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s