Smash & Grab: The Story of the Pink Panthers
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Their crimes resemble high-octane Hollywood action movies: a sports car speeds through a Dubai shopping mall, crashing into the windows of a Graff jewelry store. Masked, gun-wielding men jump out of the car, and stuff fistfuls of diamonds into their satchels before screeching off. In London, they took all of three minutes to make off with $30 million in diamonds. They are captured - not in person, but on surveillance tapes that record their astonishing lightning strikes with hypnotic accuracy. Playing out like a noir thriller spiced with cutting-edge animation and shocking real surveillance footage, Havana Marking's Smash & Grab is an exclusive all-access pass into the mysterious world of international jewel thieves. Dubbed 'The Pink Panthers, ' the formidable Balkan gang has stolen nearly a billion dollars worth of jewels from boutiques in the world's most opulent cities, including Geneva, Paris, London, Geneva, Dubai and Tokyo. Through never-before-seen interviews with key gang members, this provocative documentary delves into the gang's incredible history and introduces the viewer to the global police forces who work furiously to stop them. Beyond the glitz of the Panthers' incredible heists, Smash & Grab exposes dark truths about the illicit diamond trade and the world's most ruthless mafia networks.
Top customer reviews
All this stuff is true. The gang stole an estimated $300 million worth of jewels from high-end jewelry stores on at least two continents. They had it down to an art form: no more than 22 seconds from entry to exit from the store.
We learn that many but not all of the gang members were eventually captured. The filmmaker succeeds (presumably at some personal risk) in locating and interviewing two of them still at liberty, and what they say is sociologically interesting. This gang arose out of the disintegration and civil war in what had been Yugoslavia, after the death of Tito. As in Russia, when the regime toppled the country also fragmented, and for a period of time the police, military, government officials and criminals all found it mutually profitable to steal from other countries—which is how some gang members never were arrested. “Mike” explains, intellectually but with no remorse, how and why the gang came to be. His former girlfriend, who used to “case the joints” before a robbery, claims that for her it was never about the money as much as it was love for Mike. How she kept hoping after “just one more”, he would quit the life of crime and they could settle down happily and peacefully together. Eventually, she realized he wasn’t going to quit. How she left him, married, settled down, had children—yet still, somewhere in her heart, nothing since seems quite as real as the love she felt back then, for a person and a past that no longer exists… I give it, maybe A-. It’s like a microcosm for all of human life, from the very personal to the world at large.
If you are really interested in the Pink Panthers, read the Wikipedia page.
Much of the documentary is a history lesson of Yugoslavia starting with Tito in 1945. The criminals were from Yugoslavia and returned there to avoid prosecution. They used a pretty girl to case the shop before they did their smash and grab robbery. They had it down to a science. 22 seconds in the store. Anything more than that and the risk of getting caught increases.
The documentary was interesting as I was unaware of the police/media named "Pink Panther" group. I could have done without the long version history lesson of Yugoslavia. No Henry Mancini.
Parental Guidance: 1 F-bomb. Brief nudity.