Featuring an appealing aesthetic and an incredible story, Vault is a mediocre heist movie with a couple of redeeming qualities. Set in the seventies, it reminded me a lot of Kill the Irishman, and not the new one. As time passes, people often fantasize and obsess about past decades that seem to them much cooler and almost magical. I have to admit I’ve been doing the same thing with the eighties, same as most of my generation, with nineties getting dangerously close to being also “magical”. The seventies also have a distinct vibe to them, boasting a lot of great movies to prove it. From The Godfather, The Exorcist, and Taxi Driver to Apocalypse Now and finally one of the all-time greats Alien. Apart from that, this decade always seemed kind of formal and outdated. Like something your dad would find interesting, mostly because of the overpowering mafia vibe.
Based on true events about one of the greatest heists in USA history, this is a nice little flick if you’re feeling nostalgic or just curious about this period. Directed by Tom DeNucci who mostly works on those B commercial movies that are mass-produced for satan-knows-what reasons, Vault is a decent entry in this sub-genre. Its biggest flaw is the atmosphere. And not the atmosphere of the seventies because that was spot on, but the atmosphere of the movie that seemed disjointed and incoherent at times. This might be due to a small budget, but it still leaves a mark on an otherwise pretty good movie. Its biggest quality is that it’s entertaining enough to keep you interested in this true story. And with a cool dialogue (I really liked the opening scene), that interest will only rise.
Robert “The Deuce” Dussault and Charles “Chucky” Flynn have been friends since childhood, growing up in Massachusetts. Now they are robbing banks together, trying to survive on the mean streets of Providence, Rhode Island. Inevitably, they end up in jail after a failed robbery. While serving their sentence they meet a quite ambitious man. A man with a plan to steal a lot of money.
As I already mentioned, Vault is based on the famous Bonded Vault heist, a pretty insane event. Even by the seventies standards. The movie did change the story a bit, but all the main events are truthful. And now it’s time to talk about the cast. Starring Chazz Palminteri and Don Johnson who look exactly the same as they did in the seventies, Vault features a lot of great actors. Granted, mostly from television shows. Theo Rossi (Juice from Sons of Anarchy), Clive Standen (Mills from Taken), and Samira Wiley (Poussey from Orange is the New Black) are helped by some of the true veterans of the trade that you will undoubtedly recognize from many iconic movies.
Apart from a feeling of a lost potential that this story had, Vault helps you to comprehend just how the system was corrupt. It details how the mafia was able to operate pretty much freely, despite what the newspapers said. And I have no doubts that the situation has not changed ’till this day. The only advantage we have today is that people are not competent enough to be corrupt on that seventies level. The players sure have changed, but the game still stayed the same, as the old saying goes.
If you’re looking for movies like Vault, I recommend you check out Way Down. Or you can browse through our Rabbit Reviews selection of Heist Movies.
Director: Tom DeNucci
Writers: Tom DeNucci, B. Dolan
Cast: Theo Rossi, Clive Standen, Samira Wiley, Chazz Palminteri, Don Johnson, William Forsythe
Fun Facts: Armen Garo (Gus) played a Providence gangster once before in The Departed (2006).