Reviews The Vault historic Bank of Spain building director Jaume Balagueró
A good location isn’t worth much in the Spanish heist movie “ The Vault ,” which is mostly set in or around Madrid’s historic Bank of Spain building. The film from director
Jaume Balagueró is not the first recent caper to feature the Bank of Spain—there’s also the ongoing Netflix series “Money Heist,” which debuted in 2017—and that’s sort
of the problem: the makers of “The Vault” don’t seem to know how to show off the Bank of Spain, or any of their movie’s other potentially attractive features.
“The Vault” is consequently a paint-by-numbers caper about a crew of hard-working amateur bank robbers, who, under the leadership
of blue collar salvage expert Walter (Liam Cunningham), chase after a chest of 17th century gold coins.
(Walter initially recovered this bounty from the bottom of a Spanish shipwreck, but his booty was soon taken by the Spanish authorities.)
Most of the plot is strictly formulaic: Walter and his fellow crew members scheme over building plans and computer monitors, improvise
and double-cross each other whenever appropriate, and are often chased by Gustavo (Jose Coronado), an ill-tempered ex-military security officer.
You’ve probably seen movies like “The Vault” before, only set in another country, and featuring a lot less exposition.
Then again, a familiarity with movies like “The Vault” is probably why you might watch it in the first place. Most of its characters
are defined not only by their roles in Walter’s team, but also the tics and quirks that have come to define those roles in a variety of other
heist movies, some better than others.
If you’re wondering if you’ll like this film, take a look at its dramatis personae, starting with “the mastermind,”
as one character calls him: Thom (Freddie Highmore), a super-intelligent and highly sought after engineering student.
Like most super-smart science types, Thom is an idealist who loves a challenge. He’s given one by Walter, who’s already assembled
a motley crew of heist movie clichés.
There’s hothead man of action James (Sam Riley), cocky computer hacker Klaus
(Axel Stein), jaded pickpocket Lorraine (Astrid Bergès-Frisbey),
and flamboyant “acquisitions” expert Simon (Luis Tosar).
Walter’s team mostly gathers information and executes Thom’s plan to break into the Bank of Spain’s vault, which is protected by Gustavo and
a complicated security device that, once triggered, floods the bank’s basement.