Smash & Grab: The Story Of The Pink Panthers Review

What’s It About? The Pink Panthers are the world’s greatest diamond thieves, yet the authorities have struggled to bring them to justice for a number of years. This documentary gains unprecedented access to all concerned, including some of the gang, who describe their ambitions and achievements over the years.

Verdict: Smash & Grab: The Story Of The Pink Panthers is a mixture of real footage, reconstructions, on-camera interviews and animated interviews for the thieves who don’t wish to be identified. The animated segments are very reminiscent of Waltz With Bashir in their use of storytelling. These sections are the highlight of the film, whereas the rest of the interviews seem sub-par in comparison as plain face-to-camera shots in uninteresting places. The Pink Panthers who are interviewed tell their stories at a relaxed pace, detailing their younger years and what slowly brought them into the world of crime. Unfortunately, the doc slows down to a crawl, spending too much time on unnecessary details, when what I really wanted to hear about was the jobs and what it took to execute them.

However, once those moments arrive, the film picks up and it’s really interesting to see how these people plan the job and the meticulous detail that goes into making everything run smoothly. Also included is CCTV footage from some of the raids which shows how terrifying it must have been for anyone caught up in these robberies, but it also bears witness to how methodically they planned everything. With the aid of sketch diagrams, the Pink Panthers talk us through how they plan out their raids and also what it takes to get every single piece of information they need before venturing out to commit the crime. There are plenty of fascinating stories and anecdotes during these parts of the films.

The problem with Smash & Grab as a documentary is that it’s told in a poor way, so it feels rather average and only vaguely interesting. The use of stock footage makes it feel as though you’re watching crime scenes from no particular place, with no proper context in the story. Some of the crime-fighters interviewed are dull and wander off on tangents occasionally.

Final Words: There is nothing revelatory in Smash & Grab. The stories are interesting but it takes too long to hit the highs and I rather lost hope in hearing anything of real value. This would have made a good hour-long TV documentary, but as a feature film it loses its way.

Rating: 3 / 5      

Smash & Grab: The Story Of The Pink Panthers is in UK cinemas from 16 October 2013 and available digitally on 7 October and on DVD from 21 October.