Saturday, January 30, 2010

'The Bank Job' is a fine caper flick

The Bank Job (2008)

Starring: Jason Statham, Saffron Burrows, Stephen Campbell Moore, Michael Jibson, Daniel Mays, Richard Lintern, David Suchet, James Faulkner and Gerard Horan
Director: Roger Donaldson
Rating: Seven of Ten Stars

When a childhood friend (Burrows) approaches smalltime conman Terry Leather (Statham) with the perfect scheme for a bank robbery, he assembles a crew and goes for it. The end result is that they pull off the bigest bank heist in British history... but then find themselves hunted by serious criminals and even the British intelligence agencies.

"The Bank Job" is based on a number of true events that happened in and around 1971, such as the robbery of the Baker Street branch of Lloyd's Bank; the arrest of a murdering drug-dealer and extortionist pimp who hid his operations behind the cloak of a black power movement; the sudden resignation of a number of long-standing members of Parliment; and the quick and extensive purge of entrenched corruption in London's police department. How many of the details of the film are true, and whether all the events depicted as related are truly related we won't have even an inkling of until 2057, as much of the documents relating to the case have been sealed as government secrets until then. Whether the details are accurate or not, the film itself should entertain any fan of caper movies.

At least it should entertain any fan of caper movies once it gets going. The first half hour or so is a bit messy as a whole raft of characters and plotlines are introduced and no seeming connection exists between them; the connections become clear later, but as they are introduced you'll find yourself wondering why we're bothering with them. Some of the characters are actually so minor that I think the film had been stronger if they had been left out entirely in the interest of stream-lining the start of the movie. However, when things coalese and the robbery gets underway, any trying of the viewers patience at the film's beginning is richly atoned for.

"The Bank Job" gets off to a shakey start, but it ends up in a very cool place. It's definately worth checking out.

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