November 1, 2021, 17:08 | Updated: November 1, 2021, 5:15 PM
Army of Thieves is the prequel to the Netflix zombie movie, Army of the Dead, and the film is surprisingly inspired by Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle.
German composer Richard Wagner is all the rage, and it might not be for the reason you think.
Netflix’s latest heist movie, Army of thieves, tells the story of a German safe hacker, Dieter, who is hired by an internationally renowned heist team to break into a series of safes inspired by Wagner’s work. Der Ring des Nibelungen (Ringing cycle).
The film is a prequel to the zombie movie released on the streaming platform earlier this year, Army of the dead, which also stars German actor Matthias Schweighöfer as Dieter, and is directed by Zach Snyder.
Read more: The 18 Steps to Watching Wagner’s Ring Cycle
So what does Wagner have to do with vault cracking?
Warning: this article contains spoilers for Army of Thieves and Wagner’s Ring Cycle
Every good heist movie has * this * scene, where the characters wait tense while the skilled member of their team attempts to open a safe full of goods. One wrong move, and it could mean the end of their entire mission, and possibly jail time or death for the entire team.
Well, if you’re into those kinds of scenes, get ready for at least three in this movie alone, and that doesn’t include the underground security network Dieter finds himself in for a series of games in front of a betting audience.
Bank teller Sebastian Schlencht-Wöhnert (aka Dieter) is an expert in safe cracking. At the start of the film, he is seen sharing his knowledge on his 0-subscriber YouTube channel, where he makes videos about his favorite vault maker, Hans Wagner.
In the film, Hans Wagner is presented as a German master locksmith, famous for creating four almost impenetrable safes based on the work of Richard Wagner. Ring cycle.
Dieter is therefore recruited by an international burglary gang to help them with their plan to break into three of these four safes, after one of the members saw his YouTube video on the safes. Upon joining the team, he begins a character transition from Sebastian Schlencht-Wöhnert the cashier, in Ludwig Dieter, the international cracker.
The parallels between this story and that of Wagner Ring cycle become evident as the film unfolds. As Dieter breaks each of the three vaults in Hans Wagner’s Ring Cycle, he plays the famous music from the opera, while explaining to his team member, Gwendolyn, a brief summary of the musical work and its significance. .
Read more: Wagner’s Ring cycle: where to start
Here is a brief introduction to the four operas that make up Wagner’s work. Ring cycle, and how they relate to safes Army of thieves.
Das Rheingold (The Gold of the Rhine)
Wagner’s first opera from the Ring cycle was completed in 1854. Although this is the first score to be completed, it was actually the last text to be written, as operas were written throughout, the first text being the last opera, twilight of the gods.
Rhine gold begins with three Rhine maidens who are approached by a Niebling dwarf, Alberich, who tries to woo them in order to reveal the Rhine Gold (gold found in the Rhine).
Likewise, the first safe that Dieter met has three buttons designed to look like the Rhine Maidens, and he must break the safe to find his own Rhine Gold (the money inside the safe -fort).
Die Walküre (The Valkyrie)
The second safe is based on the second opera house of the Ringing cycle, completed in 1854.
The Valkyrie is an epic work in its own right. It lasts over five hours and is the birthplace of the infamous orchestral piece, Ride of the Valkyries, who appeared in numerous soundtracks including the 1979 American Epic Psychological Warfare film, Apocalypse now.
The engravings on The Valkyrie safe depict the story of Richard Wagner’s second opera, and Dieter correctly guesses that the buttons should be resolved in order of the narration.
Dieter explains the script as he opens the safe with the accompaniment of Ride of the Valkyries, saying: “Wagner’s work had many themes of great importance to him, but all of them touched on love. .
“I believe that the locks need to be resolved in the sequence of the story, and then the cycle starts all over again. The themes of these stories were the model, still relevant, such as deception and the double cross in love.
Wagner’s Siegfried from GAFA
Samoan Arts Collective, ‘GAFA’ performs Wagner Siegfried’s epic opera, featuring some of the best singers from the Pacific and around the world. We came to watch their rehearsal. Listen to them in London on Saturday, it’s gonna be amazing https://clssicfm.co/37lHfPz GAFA ARTS Collective GAC London.
Posted by Classic FM on Thursday, November 21, 2019
Wagner’s opera number three of four Ring cycle, inspires the final safe that we see cracked in this movie.
Siegfried is named after the tenor’s main character, Siegfried, who is the son of Siegmund and Sieglinde. Siegfried grows up without parental care and is instead brought up in a foster care situation by dwarf Alberich’s brother, Nibelung Mime.
Mime forges a sword for Siegfried to kill the dragon, Fafnir, and says the dragon will teach Siegfried what fear is. This is reflected in Dieter’s fear when he tries to break the Siegfried safe; he’s scared because he’s not sure if he’ll be able to get into that vault, due to his near failure with The Valkyrie, and the pressurized situation he finds himself in, trying to break a safe at the rear of a moving vehicle.
Dieter explains again, in this opera, “Siegfried faces his darkest trials in order to understand what it really means to be afraid. He kills the dragon Fafnir then he kills the dwarf who raised him, when he is confronted with his betrayal. Then he finds Brünnhilde and the two fall in love. After all the pain and fear, there is a happy ending.
This story follows a similar vein to Dieter’s own journey. His new character of ‘Ludwig Dieter’ having started the film as Sebastian Schlencht-Wöhnert, was created and bred by the Heist Team – who later betrayed him in the final act. Although he does not kill his team, they are arrested and he hopes that the similarity between Siegfried finding love with Brünnhilde and his own love interest in team member Gwendolyn, will come true at the end of the film.
While not everything goes as he planned, Dieter’s character certainly follows a similar journey to the main characters in Ring Cycle.
Götterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods)
The fourth and final Vault is not actually seen in this film, but instead appears in the first installment of the film franchise in Army of the dead.
In the film, another heist team is assembled to travel to Las Vegas, which has been overrun by Zombie since an outbreak six years ago.
The team is tasked with breaking into Hans Wagner’s last safe, Götterdämmerung, which sits under the Las Vegas Strip and holds $ 200 million, before an impending nuclear bomb destroys the city.
Due to Dieter’s experience, he is tricked into becoming the Vault Cracker and is thrilled to be able to join the team to fulfill his life-long goal of breaking into Wagner’s Final Vault.
In the final act of Götterdämmerung, Brünnhilde dies in the ultimate act of self-sacrifice.
Dieter also sacrifices himself, locking his teammate, Vanderohe, in the last vault as he is left outside with the ravenous zombies.
Here ends the cycle of the Ring of Dieter.
Who wrote the score for Army of thieves?
The Army of thieves the score is by Hans Zimmer and Steve Mazzaro, who worked together on the recent Bond film, No time to die.
Zimmer also wrote the music for the first installment of the Cinematic Universe, Army of the dead. A nod is even given to the legendary German composer when one of the characters describes what their brother’s favorite movie is like. Pirates of the Caribbean, a film by Zimmer.
The Army of thieves the soundtrack includes several tracks from the three Wagnerian operas, and Army of the dead characteristics Siegfried’s funeral march of Götterdämmerung during security scenes.
In recent years, Netflix has been inspired to attract new audiences to classical music, with series such as Bridgerton and Squid game heavily featured the genre.
Like Richard Wagner and the Ring cycle have been all the rage since the film premiered on October 29, we’re excited to see how the streaming platform could bring a whole new audience (zombie lovers?) to classical music.