Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Army of Thieves (2021)

Streaming Service: Netflix
Movie Name/Year: Army of Thieves (2021)
Genre: Action, Crime, Horror
Length:  127 minutes
Rating: TV-MA
Production/Distribution: Pantaleon Films, The Stone Quarry, Film United, Netflix
Director: Matthias Schweighöfer
Writers: Shay Hatten, Zack Snyder
Actors: Barbara Meier, Guz Khan, John Bubniak, Jonathan Cohen, Matthias Schweighöfer, Nathalie Emmanuel, Noémie Nakai, Ruby O. Fee, Stuart Martin, Trent Garrett
Blurb from IMDb:  A prequel, set before the events of Army of the Dead, which focuses on German safecracker Ludwig Dieter leading a group of aspiring thieves on a top-secret heist during the early stages of the zombie apocalypse.

Cat’s Point of View:
Army of Thieves had me fairly giddy. When we first saw the trailer, I knew it was a sure bet that this movie would be entertaining, but it exceeded my expectations.
Of course, a large part of why I’m over the moon about the production is the attention it’s bringing to some really stellar pieces of classical music. Okay, maybe not the majority of why – but it’s still something pretty spectacular. Everyone has heard snippets here and there from Richard Wagner’s (1813-1883) work – especially The Ring Cycle (or The Ring of the Nibelung, as it’s referred to in this film). It’s a set of four epic operas connected in mythology, theme, and story – and most people have heard at the very least bits from “Ride of the Valkyries,” which even features as background to globally famous cartoons and the like. My inner choir geek had a squee. Moving on.

The fabled safes the story of Army of Thieves is woven around are fictional but their concept, story, and execution were so brilliant, you’d think it’s plausible they could be real. They added some great nuance and plot layers to the story that helps this film tie directly into Army of the Dead (2021), which Thieves is the prequel to.
Prequels can be a little tricky if you’ve watched the movies in release order – because you already know what’s going to happen after the fact. It gives you an idea from the get-go how things are going to turn out. If characters don’t make it out of the situations they found themselves in with the prequel, how could they have been in the original film? Filmmakers have to walk a tightrope to avoid paradox and fan outcry. Thankfully, Army of Thieves navigated that well.

While there weren’t any zombies at the forefront of Army of Thieves, the fact that they existed in the world was definitely well noted. They served for several plot points, though the undead was certainly not the primary focus here.
My favorite character from Army of the Dead was Ludwig Dieter. I loved that Army of Thieves celebrates this neurodivergent, quirky character. I related with him more than I expected I would and I suspect that some of the disparity in both critic and audience reception may stem from the same societal gap between those who “get” atypical personality types and those that don’t.

Not only did Matthias Schweighöfer (100 Things, Resistance, Hinterland) bring Dieter to life as an adorkable but brilliant safe-cracking savant, he also directed this installment of what is to be at the very least a trilogy. That’s right. Planet of the Dead has been announced, but Zach Snyder (300, Sucker Punch, Man of Steel) and Netflix do not have a prospective release date. We’ll be looking at 2023 at the earliest due to other projects ahead of it in line.
Aside from Dieter, I love this story’s ringleader, Gwendoline, played by Nathalie Emmanuel (The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, Die Hart, Maze Runner: The Death Cure). Emmanuel won me over as Missandei in Game of Thrones (2011-2019) and hacked her way into speed-freak culture with her role as Ramsey in the Fast Saga, starting with Furious 7 (2015). Here she was in fine form again with this ensemble cast. I’ve enjoyed her characters that highlight assertiveness, intelligence, and wit.
Army of Thieves is definitely worth the time if you have access to Netflix. Dieter has bumbled his way into the hearts of many; and if you loved him in Army of the Dead, I have a feeling you’ll enjoy Army of Thieves, too. 

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 71%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score –76%
Metascore – 49%
Metacritic User Score – 6.8/10
IMDB Score – 6.4/10
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 4.5/5
Movie Trailer:

No comments:

Post a Comment