🇨🇴 The Grand Heist 🇨🇴
The Great Heist (El Robo Del $iglo) is a Colombian crime, drama, thriller on Netflix internationally. It is in Spanish with subtitles available. A limited series of 6 episodes of 37-48 minutes. Cert 15 in the U.K. (2020)
In 1994, a team of thieves plans an ambitious heist to steal millions from Colombia’s Bank of the Republic. This limited series is inspired by these true events. This remains the biggest bank heist in history.
Andrés Parra ~ Chayo
Christian Tappan ~ Molina
Waldo Urrego – El Dragón
Marcela Benjumea ~ Doña K
Paula Castaño ~ Carmen
Juan Sebastián Calero ~ El Sardino
Rodrigo Jerez ~ Estivan
Édgar Vittorino ~ Maguiver
Unlike Money Heist (comparisons will, inevitably, be made by some viewers) The Great Heist is based (somewhat loosely to be sure) upon a real bank heist and is much more in keeping to the traditions of the heist genre than Money Heist.
This is a show of two halves. The first half (3 episodes) revolves around the motivations for the heist of the lead and minor characters, all the meticulous preparations and the heist itself. We learn a fair amount about Chayo and Molina (aka The Lawyer) and a little about each of the others involved in the heist. The action is well-paced and keeps the story rolling along.
The second half of 3 episodes suffer somewhat because they are about the aftermath. Pacing does become a bit of an issue at times, and there seems a fair dose of added drama, however, it was still enthralling to see what did happen next. We see that things did not turn out splendidly for those involved (horrendously for some) the betrayals and the heartbreaks along the way.
The way that characters are introduced, along with their real and “Heist” names, is very much in a Tarantino or Ritchie style and worked very well, I thought. I instantly recognised Juan Sebastián Calero (Narcos) and Édgar Vittorino (Unauthorised Living/Vivir sin permiso). The series is nicely bookended by the round up of the fates of each at the end. There is a nice sprinkling of humour throughout this show, especially during the first half: the running gag of the way the “coasties” and “townies” both despise and, yet, need each other.
The details of the setting up of the heist, the planning, the emphasis on no real bloodshed or live weapons is excellently handled. That we understand the motivation for there being no shooting or fatalities (via flashback) makes this whole aspect stronger.
The heist itself is beset with problems, but somehow or another they manage to overcome these (at the expense of that most vital of commodities during a heist, time). Never have I seen so much vomiting during a heist though, truly!
There are some really shocking events in the second half. As I alluded to previously there is more than one awful betrayal. Most of the ensuing violence is implied: we see the dreadful aftermath or hear it taking place off-camera, rather than the actual extreme acts of violence themselves. The displays of deaths and beatings etc. work well in contrast to the “no deaths” theme of the heist itself. Taking on the state, or being seen to be taking on the state, is a dangerous game to play.
Looking at some technical aspects of the show: I loved the cinematography and direction in this! There are some great widescreen shots but also a good choice of when and where to use closeups etc. The feeling of intensity and jeopardy during the heist is conveyed really well through the camerawork. Costuming, sets and the colour palettes chosen are very effective and help distinguish scenes, most notably inside and outside the bank.
The music score, I think, could be divisive, for me the loud drumming in my left ear worked well. The rest of the score and soundtrack are used effectively and enhance the actions and/or emotional impact, the visuals and the whole atmosphere and ambience. The overall sound design is impressive. The opening titles sequence is one I happily watched more than once, the music combined with the distorted visuals are effective.
Overall I enjoyed this miniseries and it was certainly an easy binge watch. Its atmosphere is very Latin-American, with touches of telenovela and real grittiness. If you want a show with a happy ending, this is not it. Practically no one lives, or loves, happily ever after, in fact the heist and the money brings nothing but tragedy to most.
They say that money cannot buy you happiness, and the $33m in previously unused pesos these guys stole certainly didn’t!
Trailer in Spanish (no subtitles unfortunately):
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