The Vault (2021)
August 9, 2021 7:00 PM - Subscribe

An engineer (Freddie Highmore) is hired by a salvage expert (Liam Cunningham) to join a crew of master thieves. The team plans to steal the legendary lost treasure locked inside a mysterious, impenetrable fortress hidden under The Bank of Spain while the whole 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.

Currently streaming in the US on Netflix.
posted by DirtyOldTown (7 comments total)
 
I wanted to like this: it looks good, it has a handsome cast. But wow, the story has so many holes in it! Why were the coordinates of the treasure split across three coins which are always kept together? Why does everyone believe the vault in impenetrable? Did anyone try to open it? What stopped them? What the heck is the vault even for, if it's empty except for the boxes from the shipwreck? (Except for a statue of Justice, which is apparently only there to provide a clue to the mechanism for the vault.) And, boy howdy, it's great that the mechanism of this "wonder of engineering" can be accessed by crawling through a storm drain! A1 security, that is! The film is not without some fun bits (capturing security video "time" by recording an action then playing it back at half-speed was actually clever). But overall, the film sinks as surely as the vault itself.
posted by SPrintF at 8:14 PM on August 9


Yeah. I think virtually everything good about the film can be explained by the credits: directed by Jaume Balagauero ([REC]); starring Freddie Highmore and Liam Cunningham. The writing explains virtually everything wrong with it.

The scene where they zipline over the plaza was achingly stupid. Yes, most people would not notice. But there are like 150,000 people. If 99.99% of them don't notice... then like 15 people did.

Also, one of the key bits for a heist movie is, you want to feel good about the protagonists getting away with it. (Consider in Ocean's Eleven how Terry Benedict totally had it coming.) But the reasoning here was that they salvaged Spanish treasure lost in Spain by a Spanish boat without a license from the Spanish government and they wanted it back anyway? Yeah, nope.

Fluid, crackerjack direction, two good leads, but the characterizations were lacking and the plot had awful holes.

Well-directed garbage with two good actors.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:41 PM on August 9


I started watching this a few days ago, but just kind of wandered away from it and haven't finished it. The cast is solid, and their performances are solid. The characters as written are pretty much standard off-the-shelf archetypes. There's everything there that should comprise a reasonably-enjoyable wasted couple of hours, and yet it just failed to keep me tuned-in. I just wandered away, even though there's nothing not to like about it.

I think the first inkling I had that this movie was going to be full of eye-rolling moments, was when the genius kid first comes to the gang's hideout and, within minutes, solves the problem of getting a passcode into the bank's security system, that had been stumping the team's own tech expert for ages.

The recording-then-playing-it-back-at-half-speed trick definitely was cool, and something I don't think I've seen before.

I will say one thing, though. Liam Cunningham works really hard to sell the thing. He delivers every line with every ounce of earnestness and sincerity he can muster, as if he's begging you and the rest of the cast to please! take this seriously.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:05 AM on August 10


I liked the image thing with Drake, how is seen to some as a hero in England but basically a pirate in Spain.
posted by clavdivs at 7:05 PM on August 10


Agreed all around.

A few, but mostly disjointed, clever bits overshadowed by a whole lot of stupid. Most of all everything about the vault. Another nitpick are the coordinates themselves - at the end of a movie, there's zero need to drag out the suspense with the long/lat coords. Twice. At least not that way.

While I'm not generally fine with stupid, I can forgive it sometimes. This doesn't have enough to be one of those times because they're trying so hard to be clever.

Advocating for the Devil - re: zipline: I didn't have a problem with it. Sure, some people fanatical footie fans below would notice. But why the heck would they care and what would they do about it even if they did?

My gripe for that sequence was why not replace the skylight pane other than for idiotball plot reasons.

I'm overthinking this, but SPrintF's comment that the cast is handsome feels spot on. Good looking, but not Hollywood hot. Reminded me of 'Ronin' and the casting decision adds verisimilitude.

This Highmore kid. I'm going to have to check out 'The Good Doctor,' 'Leonardo,' and 'Bates Motel' now. Shame I'm not still unemployed.

Liam Cunningham is a consumate professional. Anyone see the show called Game of Thrones 'Domina'? Any good? Eyeball test puts it below the 'Spartacus' sandals-and-tits (nothing wrong with that) series aspiring to HBO's 'Rome' and some viewer reviews compare it to adolescent CW stuff.

Astrid Berg├Ęs-Frisbey was good despite being shackled by the former waif pickpocket thing. Not sure what's holding her back? Teh intarwebs suggest she might not be looking at that kind of high profile career, that she's shy/ "private"/ not into playing the games?

Famke Janssen only has a small part, but I liked the directorial/ costuming decisions. Low key makeup throughout, minimal de-aging, and in her final scene, she's wearing flats (!).

Minor peeve - in an era where seemingly every movie wants to be a franchise, the tease at the end added insult to injury. Not that they're serious about a sequel, but still.
posted by porpoise at 11:17 PM on August 11


If you ever get the inclination to see Liam Cunningham in a great role, check out Let Us Prey. It's a horror film and I won't spoil it for you except to say that it's very John Carpenter-esque. Cunningham plays the victim of a hit and run accident in a small Scottish town who is brought into the police station. Despite the fact that he is nominally a victim and not speaking, you will immediately recognize that everyone in that building is in a great deal of danger from him. He's amazing in that. Also has the inimitable Pollyanna McIntosh.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:28 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


minimal de-aging

What was the point? It wasn't needed for the plot. I thought she'd gone overboard with fillers and sadly it looks like I am right.

Liam Cunningham now, have loved him since Shooting the Past.

Ronin-lite but okay for a couple hours on a steamy summer night.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 7:19 PM on August 12


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