From a typical heist movie, we expect some intense action, high-stakes situations, and some interesting characters that shoulder the movie along with the plot. The heist has to be well planned and thought through because, in this day and age, even a child can poke holes in a thief’s strategy owing to our saturation with crime games, movies, and shows. The latest movie, “Righteous Thieves,” holds true to its title but fails to deliver the crux of a quintessential heist film. Directed by Anthony Nardolillo, it follows a crew of supposedly trained and experienced thieves with a specialty that makes them invaluable to the mission. Annabel is the leader of the crew and of a shady syndicate that specializes in taking revenge on the Nazis for what they did during the Second World War. Eddie is Annabel’s right-hand man, Lucille is the hacker, and Nadia is the locksmith. They also have Bruno, who is a bit of a wild card and is the muscle of the group.
The plot of “Righteous Thieves” revolves around a high-stakes heist that can make things right and return the prized possessions to the real owner. The director tried their best to give us a movie that engages and excites us, but the plot falls flat on its face. Moreover, the characters are not developed enough to let us empathize with or relate to them at all. They are empty shells of somebody on whom the writer sprinkles in some skill or backstory without making it go the distance.
Plot Synopsis: What Happens In ‘Righteous Thieves’ Film?
The movie begins with a novice thief creeping into the house of a wealthy man. To her surprise, the man is waiting for her to enter and makes a proposition of his own. Josef Goodman is the one who asks Annabel to steal for him rather than from him. Years later, we see Annabel working as the CEO of a syndicate that takes back what was stolen by the Nazis and then by some petty thieves. Annabel works with a couple more old guys who experienced the horrors of the Nazis firsthand and want to take revenge. Their mark is Otto Huizen, the man who owns four of the world’s most precious paintings and keeps them hidden. We know he is a bad guy because he drinks a lot and seems powerful, with a ton of guards all around him.
The ridiculousness of Annabel’s plan is evident in how she recruits her team. There is no backstory to substantiate the characters or give them some weight of their own. Everyone just seems like a pawn to take the story forward. Even then, the story itself fails to make an impact. In an attempt to offer a twist, Otto is shown to be aware of Annabel’s plans as he brings her in to talk to her. Apparently, she has a bounty on her from the previous job that she failed to pull off. However, somehow Otto decides to take on this challenge and lets Annabel go to steal his paintings. Who is that dumb? He is certainly not as good a villain as he seems.
Once everyone is in place, Annabel, Eddie, Lucille, Nadia, and Bruno talk strategy (which appears to be nonsense anyway). Their plan solely relies on Lucille hacking into Otto’s system and getting the information. They go on to hack the cameras and enter the facility, which was supposed to be heavily guarded. Nonetheless, we see no guards or security by the front gate when the crew enters in a shady white van. At one point, we truly stopped and wondered: who should we blame for this fiasco of a movie—the filmmakers or the unconvincing actors?
Anyway, the story moves on as Bruno starts acting shadier than usual. We are made aware that something is up with the wildcard they chose, and he will go on to stay true to his title. He doesn’t trust any of his teammates, and we see the first sign of tension between everyone. So, when they go to fulfill their mission, Bruno splits off from everyone and even disappears in the middle. But why would Otto kill Bruno and not anyone else? Let’s break it down.
Why Does Otto Kill Bruno?
As we have already mentioned, Otto Huizen is the one the crew decides to steal from. He is rich and powerful, as a villain should be. Even though he does not make the smartest decision by letting Annabel go, he does right his wrong by killing Bruno. We say this because Bruno not only double-crosses his own team but also oversteps his bounds by stealing a bar of gold from Otto. In the vault where the priceless paintings were kept, Otto also had a bounty of gold bars, and other valuables stashed there.
Bruno meets with Otto behind his crew’s back in an effort to take all the money for himself. He does so after selling the gold bar and making a profit off of that as well. Otto shoots him in the head right then and there gets his revenge. On the other hand, as it turns out, this was exactly what Eddie and Annabel had in mind when they included Bruno in the team. They needed someone to pin the blame on, and when Bruno proved himself untrustworthy, they felt no remorse for throwing him under the bus. Or, more aptly, Bruno jumped under the bus all by himself.
‘Righteous Thieves’ Ending Explained: Does Otto Get Arrested?
When the climax of “Righteous Thieves” unfolds, as usual, we see both parties gloat over their victories and pout over their losses. Annabel donates all the paintings to a museum where everyone can see them. As her mentor Josef Goodman always believed, he wanted the work of such magnificent artists to be for everyone to see and cherish. Such pieces of art don’t belong in a private collection like that of Huizen’s. Goodman wanted to take the art back from the Nazis and let the world see what they were truly capable of.
After fulfilling her promise to Josef, Annabel feels relieved to have stood true to her word. However, Otto comes over and confesses that he does not mourn the loss of the paintings because he has many more precious ones in his collection. What he does not know is that a few law enforcement executives were present in the museum and heard him say that. Not only that, Otto had been accused of tax evasion and owning art illegally. Therefore, he is taken in for questioning and later arrested for his crimes.
If you desire action and intrigue in a heist movie, then we suggest you keep your expectations low for “Righteous Thieves.” The robbery they undertook was for the right reasons, which deems them righteous in the most literal sense. Other than that, there is nothing exciting or engaging about the movie. The characters are half-baked, and the story falls short. Even the strategy that they plan is full of holes, as what we see is very different from the story they weave when planning.
In conclusion, “Righteous Thieves” can be a good one-time watch. Female power definitely shines through, as Lucille is brains, beauty, and muscle all in one. She is able to hack impenetrable firewalls, seduce men to get what she wants, and even take down bigger men in a fight. Her romance with Eddie offers no story or relevance. It feels like an afterthought to blend every genre in one movie.
“Righteous Thieves” is a 2023 mystery thriller film directed by Anthony Nardolillo.