Hands up - A guide to the perfect heist
- Eddie Harrison
- 20 January 2010
Planning one last big job? Then you may want to read Eddie Harrison’s handy guide to daylight robbery honed from hours of watching classic and not so classic heist movies. You in? Or out?
OK so you want to pull off a heist? But unless you’re still living in the era of gentleman thieves like Raffles, you’ll need some outside help. For starters, have you got a charismatic sidekick in shades? Check. A fast-talkin, blowsy chick ready to cause a distraction by flashing some stocking to the gob-smacked guards? Check. A Chinese acrobat ready to de-activate the alarm system? Sure. A systems analyst capable of cracking computer codes and a helicopter pilot waiting for your signal? Fine. Then let’s go to work.
Classic heist movies Ocean’s Eleven or The Italian Job derive their entertainment value from the skilful execution of a tense, daring robbery by a roguish mastermind, usually accompanied by a hand-picked, loyal gang like the one detailed above. The roguish charm of the protagonist is sharpened by the notion that their crime is justified; in the anti-establishment 1970’s stars like Warren Beatty and Robert Redford could cheerfully rob banks and get away with it in Dollars and The Hot Rock respectively, but these days, corrupt corporations and crooked casino bosses are seen as more deserving of a trip to the cleaners.
Aspiring for the raw toughness of genre master Don Siegel’s 1973 thriller Charley Varrick, but turning out as daft lunkish as a Steven Seagal vehicle, Armoured features Matt Dillon, Jean Reno and co attempting an armoured car robbery which is so boneheaded, they’re doomed from the start. But Armoured belongs to the ‘heist gone wrong’ sub-genre, a defiantly blue-collar variation which isn’t about slick teamwork and gadgets, but the deadly consequences of group dynamics gone bad.
Classic texts The Asphalt Jungle, The Good Die Young, The Killing and The Usual Suspects all feature a snake-pit of hard, desperate men who find themselves tangled in a web of double and triple-crosses. The lags that join the crew in the ‘heist-gone-wrong’ flick don’t usually end up quaffing champagne in swimming pools shaped like dollar signs. Their last breath is usually taken face down at midnight on a railway crossing, with dollar bills billowing sky-wards from an open suitcase.
So pay heed to these simple tips if you’re planning a heist; firstly, no dress code is required. Outfitting your boys in identical clothes spells disaster, whether it’s black suits in Reservoir Dogs, or Father Christmas suits for Ben Affleck’s chaotic casino heist Reindeer Games. Secondly, you can cut down on police or mob infiltration by avoiding last minute recruits to your gang; no Keyser Soze’s or Mr Blonde’s need apply. And lastly, but not least, when disabling the alarm system, always remember to cut the green wire first. Or, wait a minute, maybe that should be the red wire.
Armoured is on general release from Fri 22 Jan.