The League of Gentlemen
 

 

There is the usual schematic division of roles one to cut the wires, one to make the smoke bombs, one to drive the getaway van alongside a sense that all of these men are seeking a sense of excitement denied them in the real world. Early on Hawkins introduces them to each other (and to us) by listing their previous misdemeanours, moving round the table in a manner reminiscent of Kobayashi in an identical scene in The Usual Suspects (1995). Indeed, to watch the film is to recognise several sequences delicately 'homaged' in later works. In the opening sequence, a tuxedoed man climbs out of a drain, a scene similar to Connery's first appearance in Goldfinger (1964). Elsewhere, the final getaway foreshadows a similar event in The Italian Job (1969), and perhaps even Steven Soderbergh saw the film while prepping Ocean's Eleven (2001) both films share a similar vibe, with their charismatic ringleaders, daring plans and mis-matched criminals.

The audacity of the plan almost requires a happy ending, but the final touch, of all the lags handcuffed together in the back of a Black Maria, hints at the possibility of some new plan being executed. And as for that boy who helpfully collects car number plates... well, it's undoubtedly true that in the Big Heist Film, it's always the small, insubstantial detail that sends the crooks to jail.

 

 
 

                              

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 The league of gentlemen