The Vault (2021) – Film Review
Director: Jaume Balagueró
Cast: Freddie Highmore, Astrid Berges-Frisbey, Liam Cunningham
By Roger Crow
If there’s a problem with Jaume Balagueró’s thriller it’s the fact many of us have seen this sort of thing countless times before. It’s a jet-setting heist caper with an excellent cast which may as well be called The Spanish Job.
Freddie Highmore (who has been in the business since he was a kid and is also one of the producers) is splendid as the twentysomething engineer drawn into the world of pinching stuff from apparently inaccessible areas.
So yes, it is like the Oceans movies, and Danny Ocean even gets a mention at one point, though Mission: Impossible is also worth a nod. And they even do the old gag of looping a security camera’s feed, which must be on page one of the ‘How to write a heist thriller action movie screenplay’ handbook.
“Score of a lifetime”
When he learns of a mysterious, impenetrable fortress hidden under The Bank of Spain, our fresh-faced hero joins a crew of master thieves who plan to steal the lost treasure locked inside while the country is distracted by Spain’s World Cup Final.
With thousands of soccer fans cheering in the streets, and security forces closing in, the crew have just minutes to pull off the score of a lifetime.
Good support comes from Astrid Berges-Frisbey and the excellent Liam Cunningham, who adds the same degree of gravitas here as he did in Game of Thrones. The guy is the king of selling exposition as though his life depended on it.
There’s also a fine turn from gravel-voiced Sam Riley, who sounds more like John Hurt than ever. Oh, and the ever stunning Famke Janssen is also hugely watchable, even if her face looks like it’s been digitally altered.
“Keeps you watching”
Naturally there’s a hacker with a big bushy beard in a tee-shirt with a baseball cap on backwards, because those are the rules. (Heaven forbid we ever have a keyboard jockey that bucks that tired stereotype). Oh, and the whole thing looks like it was edited by Edward Scissorhands after a crate full of energy drinks.
I’m amazed it wasn’t produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Michael Bay as The Vault feels so slick and fast paced.
Despite the nagging sense of deja vu and ADHD-style editing, this is lot of fun which keeps you watching.
A potential drowning shot will leave many short of breath, as intended, but it’s just the tension the third act needs before the inevitable pay-off.
If there’s a blessing it’s the fact the obligatory capital shots at the end don’t feature The Clash’s ‘London Calling’, one of the most over-used tracks in high energy thrillers set you know where.
As Europudding thrillers go, this is a lot of fun and, like the integral soccer match, should attract a huge following.