The Thief Lord (PG) <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

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The Independent Culture

Zorro for kids; sorrow for adults. Adapted from the popular children's novel by Cornelia Funke, this is a comedy adventure set in a Venice where everybody speaks English. Here, orphans Prosper (Aaron Johnson) and younger brother Bo (Jasper Harris), on the run from their wicked aunt and uncle, fall in with a masked teen hero (Rollo Weeks) known as the Thief Lord, who presides over a tweenage gang in an abandoned rococo cinema. The pathos of orphanhood aligns it with Harry Potter, but the grown-ups (Jim Carter, Robert Bathurst, Alexei Sayle) are so crudely drawn and played that the unparented state of the children seems perversely enviable. Like the canals on which it's set, the script has a decided whiff of rotten fish about it.

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