A ‘Bank Job’ well done

Wed, 03/12/2008 - 9:43am
By: Emily Baldwin

First let me say that there are quite a few aspects of “The Bank Job” that make it difficult for me to recommend it to the general population. For example, the film begins with a menage a trois (which fades to a blur as it gets going) and proceeds throughout the film to include more bare flesh than I’d like to recall. Toward the end, this flick gets pretty violent, although most – but not all – of the violence cuts away or pans wide before it gets too gruesome.

So, having said all of that, it’s not a bad film, particularly for this early in the year. Usually this time of year is reserved for films with no hope of award nominations, such as horror films and lame comedies.

“The Bank Job” is based on a true story from the early 1970s. Terry (Jason Statham) is a car dealer and former criminal in London. While he’s looking to put his crooked ways behind him and start all over with his family, he still has some outstanding debts to pay. When his old friend Martine (Saffron Burrows) offers him the job of a lifetime — robbing a bank on London's famous Baker Street — with a guarantee he won’t get caught, Terry can't resist. After breaking into the bank and stealing cash and jewelry from dozens of safety deposit boxes, only then does Terry find out what he – and his group of amateur criminal friends – are really being used to steal: sexually explicit photos taken of a royal family member.

After the realization of what his crew has become involved with hits him, Terry and his friends must figure out a way to stay alive while keeping two opposing groups at bay.

What I really liked about this film was its truly vintage approach. Without the modern technology available to thieves today, this group of amateur criminals must us the classic dig and tunnel approach to complete the bank heist. Since cell phones weren’t around in the ’70s, Terry must communicate with his lookout via walkie-talkie.

The set designs and costumes of this film were great and, I can only guess from pictures of that time, accurate.

The cast of mostly unknowns is solid and impressively led by Statham and Burrows. Kudos to the script writers (Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais) and director Roger Donaldson for taking a complicated story and making it clear. On that note, don’t worry if you find yourself confused at the beginning about who is who and which side they’re on, it all becomes clear as the story unfolds.

This film is most definitely not for the young or weak of heart. It’s primarily targeted at men and those who are into bank heist flicks, but I give it credit for all that it does well. If you’re looking for a film that isn’t “10,000 B.C.” or “College Road Trip,” “The Bank Job” is your best bet.

Personally, I’d still prefer an “Ocean’s” movie any day of the week.


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