You don’t have to be a cinematic genius to know that robbing a bank for 165 million reais through an underground tunnel is the perfect inspiration for a heist flick. But even given such a great premise to work with – a real-life case that happened in 2005 in the North Eastern city of Fortaleza, and was considered the second greatest bank robbery in the world – director Marcos Paulo managed to craft an ultimately underwhelming film.
The plot follows two different timelines: one follows the planning of the heist – organised by Barão, a growly-voiced caricature of a villain – and the parallel investigation conducted by police, and the other shows the subsequent interrogation of the arrested gang members. It’s a storytelling choice that works against the film, ruining its chances to build momentum and suspense about the fate of the characters.
The film tries unsuccessfully to emulate Ocean’s Eleven, with a heist team of quirky characters who lack the charm of Clooney’s gang. One of the few highlights is a Communist engineer played by Tonico Pereira, who actually snags amusing lines in his plan to ‘stick it to the capitalist rats’. Hardy-har.