Top 5 thieves in film
#5 – Linus Caldwell (Ocean’s Eleven)
The final member of Danny Ocean’s team, pickpocket Linus Caldwell (Matt Damon) is a key player in Ocean’s plan to knock over three Vegas casinos simultaneously. After years of seeing Damon front blockbuster after blockbuster, it’s quite a treat to see him back in a supporting role, nervously learning how to talk while undercover and being generally whipped into shape by George Clooney and Brad Pitt. The catch? As Clooney slowly decided he was Jesus and Pitt had increasingly unmanageable numbers of children with Angelina Jolie, Damon stole their A-list action credibility.
#4 – Eames (Inception)
Why pick a lock when you can just pick the brain that holds the key? Inception is Leo DiCaprio’s film through and through, but he never feels like a true criminal. Tom Hardy’s Eames, on the other hand, is a solid silver crook, an identity forger who can weasel information out of his victims by wearing a trustworthy face. Even in the high-spec context of the film we don’t really understand how he does it, but if Eames ever wants to pull the wool over our eyes we won’t be putting up a fight.
#3 – Charlie Croker (The Italian Job)
If Charlie Croker had any more balls he’d need two sets of trousers. Breaking into prison to put together a gang, gridlocking an entire city and managing to piss off the Chinese and the Mafia at the same time is no mean feat, but Michael Caine’s most beloved character sails through, never losing sight of the prize – $4m in gold bullion, provided it, and he, don’t end up at the bottom of a ravine. While 60s audiences sat aghast at the literal cliffhanger ending of The Italian Job, Noel Coward was picking their pockets.
#2 – Mr Pink (Reservoir Dogs)
The spectacular ensemble cast of Reservoir Dogs makes it hard to pick out just one of the multicoloured crooks as our favourite. But for his sheer cunning and avarice, Steve Buscemi’s Mr Pink has to take the top spot. Not only does he get away with the diamonds as the rest of the gang shoot each other up, you just know he’s going to invest wisely and keep his nose clean so he can enjoy his new wealth. The man won’t even tip the waitress that brought his breakfast, there’s no way he’ll be wasting money like a lottery winner from a defunct mining town.
#1 – Verbal Kint (The Usual Suspects)
Criminals robbing corrupt police officers, thieves stealing jewels that turn out to be heroin, mobsters faking coke deals to sell a man with a vital memory – the tissue of robbery and deceit in Bryan Singer’s unforgettable crime thriller would make even the most voracious magpie proud. And who else could sit at the top of our rogues’ gallery? Roger ‘Verbal’ Kint gives a burglary masterclass, talking his way out of the clutches of the police by stealing everything from his limp to the maker’s mark on Chazz Palminteri’s coffee cup. A worthy champion.