Review: 'Den Of Thieves' Starring Gerard Butler, Pablo Schreiber, Curtis Jackson, And O'Shea Jackson Jr.

At its core, Den of Thieves is a gritty, dark, modern day cops and robbers film. Centered in Los Angeles – a hot bed for bank robbers with a bank being robbed every 48 minutes - we get a chance to follow the stories of two groups of people on opposite sides of the law. Nick Flannigan (Gerard Butler) is the head of the major crimes unit of the LA County Sheriff’s Department and leads a small team of elite cops. Once a decorated officer, Flannigan has succumb to the seedy world that surrounds him, often toeing the line of right and wrong – with his team following in their boss’s footsteps. Merriman (Pablo Schreiber) is an ex-con who has his sights set on the holy grail of robberies – the Los Angeles branch of the Federal Reserve. Merriman has pulled off multiple impressive heists in the past with elaborate and well-executed plans being a part of his m.o. This heist will have to be no different as the Federal Reserve has some of the most intricate, high tech security systems and protocols in the world. Luckily for him, Merriman has compiled a team of former Marines, who meticulously plan and attack with precision. Every member of Merriman’s crew has numerous valuable skills that are incorporated into his plan. The team includes Levi Enson (Curtis Jackson) who is a talented marksman and strategist and Donnie (O’Shea Jackson Jr.) the getaway driver who is the newest member of the team.

After Merriman’s team has a heist of an armored car that goes awry - leaving multiple Police officers dead - Flannigan and the major crimes unit decide to take on the case. The more Flannigan digs, the more he realizes how many past unsolved robberies Merriman has orchestrated. Flannigan begins to pull out all the stops as he pieces together Merriman’s next move. Working on both sides of the law may be the only way that Flannigan can stop Merriman, as the two of them engage in a dangerous game of cat and mouse.

Den of Thieves is the directorial debut for Christian Gudegast, who also penned the screenplay. Gudegast has experience working with Gerard Butler - he wrote the screenplay for London Has Fallen - and he used this experience to create a dark and complicated character for Butler. As the film continues, the audience is torn between whether to root for the Police, as we naturally drift towards doing, or against them because at times they are no different than the men they are hunting. It is interesting to see the robbers acting with poise and dignity while the Police repeatedly disregard the law and engage in numerous questionable activities. This dichotomy continues throughout the film and is an ingenious way to frame a classic premise in a new light. Gudegast builds an exciting narrative that features clever ideas, fantastic acting, and some twists and turns. Den of Thieves is a fun action thriller that does not disappoint. While Den of Thieves doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it does enough to make it stand out and keep the audience entertained throughout the entire ride. 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5