films and series
Fascination of robbery films: Why we cheer the gangsters – Money Heist and Co shine with teamwork and sophisticated plans
«House of Money» goes into the last round. What makes the Spanish series unique and what is so fascinating about the so-called heist film?
A group of thieves are planning an ingenious robbery on the banknote printing plant to print 2.4 billion euros for themselves in the most perfect heist in Spain’s history. There is nothing more to say about the «House of Money» plot.
As the mastermind, the «professor» holds all the strings in his hand and steers from outside, while the team – and the money – are still inside. The series has developed into a worldwide phenomenon since its launch in 2017. The big question that now arises: How do you get out of the bank?
What is a heist movie?
“La casa de papel” is a heist series, actually the first really worth mentioning. In Heist films, “the clever preparation and spectacular implementation of armed robberies as well as the subsequent disputes about the distribution of the loot are at the center of the plot,” as the film dictionary puts it.
The focus is on the coup
If you ask yourself what makes Heist films so fascinating, you are thrown back to a primal question. Because the robbery film is to be classified in the broad field of the crime film. Strictly speaking, it is a sub-category of the main gangster film sub-genre, which is about the conduct of crimes and the difficulties involved.
The focus of the Heist film is on the coup, a cheeky and boldly designed, successful company. The crime thriller has been very popular since time immemorial. Behind this is the fascination for evil. Crime stories often trigger fear, but one feels a pleasant shiver in the process.
Keep your fingers crossed
At the end of a “pure” heist film, the gangsters run away with the loot after playing a game of cat and mouse with the police and / or those who robbed them. Identification with the crooks plays an extremely important role. Who hasn’t thought of robbing a bank?
Concocting the perfect plan has something fascinating about it. And, there we are at Robin Hood: Taking the rich and giving to the poor, very few perceive that as unjust. If the gangsters themselves are the poor who just want their piece of the pie, then we keep our fingers crossed for them.
The more sophisticated the plan …
It’s a game! The more sophisticated the plan, the greater the joy of the viewer. But no matter how perfect it is, the more people involved, the greater the chance of failure. Is it even possible to turn off all imponderables? When what exists on paper and in people’s minds is actually carried out, there is always some residual risk.
Comedy, thriller, action
The story draws tension from planning and execution, sometimes more in the direction of comedy, sometimes more thriller drama or action film. Heist films in the real sense of the word are those in which a few guys sit in a basement or somewhere and brood. Because, and there is also a fascination in that, robbery like this is mostly teamwork; No one can do it alone, every single job needs the right person or the right person. Of course, the human factor always harbors a risk.
No good or bad
Just as often the roles of “good policeman” and “bad gangster” are reversed or at least it no longer seems clear who has the better character or the more effective reasons for his actions. The world is just not black and white. In addition, the goal should be achieved with the head and not with physical violence.
“House of Money” brings all elements together. 1. A plan whose perfection only reveals itself over time – also through a complex flashback structure. 2. The professor as a figure of identification. He has considered all the potential imponderables. 3. It is human. The characters are complex and have different temperaments, but you all somehow like them because they get a believable background.
4. The noble reason: The thieves (strictly speaking they are not even that) take their “nonviolent” action against the capitalist and corrupt system and fool the police as its representative. The people who cheer them on the street like that – just like the audience in front of the screen. The game has taken so many minutes of film to extremes only “House of Money”.
La casa de papel: Part 1 of the fifth and final season from today on Netflix, Part 2 from December 3.
There are countless heist films or robbery films. A very personal selection.
The Ladykillers (1955)
A classic and the best example of a really successful heist comedy, a black one at that: Alec Guinness and his accomplices rent a room from an old lady to plan a big robbery on a money transport at King’s Cross. There is a remake with Tom Hanks that is safe to forget. Not so with “The Italian Job” from 2003. It almost comes close to the original with Michael Caine.
Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Quentin Tarantino’s debut is really cool and brutal, quite Tarantino. The real story begins after the failed jewel theft, when the gangsters suspect each other. What follows is a bloodbath. But “Jackie Brown” is the coolest Tarantino film ever. Pam Grier has a plan and, as a black woman with a lousy job, finds a place in the sun.
Hell or High Water (2016)
Two brothers, one of them an absolute hothead, commit an act of desperation in order not to lose their farm. A wonderfully played heist drama from more recent times, where even the sheriff struggles to side with the law. The action drama “Baby Driver” from 2017 about a getaway driver is a single choreography to the soundtrack of the main character – crazy in every way.
Logan Lucky (2017)
Steven Soderbergh is and remains the master of the Heist film. With “Ocean’s Eleven” he has created a remake better than the original and, overall, a stylish gentlemen-crook trilogy. But even “Out of Sight” with Clooney as a bank robber was a lot of fun. With “Logan Lucky” he goes to the hillbilly country of West Virginia. The best part about it is Daniel Craig: his name is Joe Bang and he’s hilarious.
El robo del siglo (2020)
Funny and colorful crook from Argentina about a bank robbery that went down in history in 2006. The sophistication behind the plan is only revealed gradually. “The Bank Job” also has a real model: a burglary in London in 1971 with several million pounds of loot. And in the series “The Robbery of the Century” – there is another one – it is an attack on the Colombian central bank in 1994.