The period between the announcement of the Oscar nominations and the awards ceremony tends to be a bit of desert; there are very few major pictures released during that February. On February 3, I made a poor choice, “Den of Thieves.” The only alternative was Helen Mirren in a Gothic thriller, “Winchester,” but I would have had to wait another hour for that film to start.
“Den of Thieves” is a hard-boiled version of what we used to call a “caper” movie. A highly organized gang of thieves plans to rob the Federal Reserve Bank in Los Angeles; the robbers are former members of a military unit and know how to function effectively. The opposing police unit trying to stop the robbery is loosely organized and seems to have little cohesion.
Gerard Butler stumbles through the role of leader of the unit trying to stop the robbery. Butler put up much of the money for the film and seems to have “helped” with the script. Plot threads trickle away, and there are some inept errors in continuity. There is a nice plot twist at the end, but it does not justify the other two hours of sludge.
At least one big film is opening in February: “Black Panther.” I do have hopes for that one, but it is two weeks away.