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Monday, March 3, 2008

Film: The Bank Job

Hanging off the bones of the true story of the ‘Walkie Talkie Robbery’, The Bank Job covers the tale of a gang of petty thieves and their attempts to tunnel under a bank vault whilst a ham radio enthusiast listens in on their transceiver conversation with their trusty look-out.

Jason Statham stars and he plays to type stamping his own version of butch and cockney onto everything. Butch and cockney - that could sum the film up to be honest. I keep expecting Jack Regan or Gene Hunt to pop up and yell something about putting one’s knickers on. It’s ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ set in grimy seventies London. It’s a humourless ‘Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’ and yet it drifts between a smack in the face and a friendly punch on the shoulder; from overwhelming seriousness to smiles and joshing. It’s confused about where it belongs - a visceral true portrayal of facts or a comedy crime caper - and, consequently, refuses to flow freely.

With the sub-plot of an implicated Royal Family, a desperate Whitehall, and a horde of bent coppers the film flounders between the various criminal activities leaving you lost about exactly who the good guys are. Yet, it’s not all bad. It’s well-acted with Daniel Mays, as gang-member Dave, and David Suchet, playing an extremely vindictive crime lord, both shining. Also director Roger Donaldson manages to create a good deal of tension by utilising a combination of clever angles, bleak settings and rapid cuts. Throw in an understated yet insistently pulsating soundtrack and a script full of deception and there are many reasons to keep watching. Ultimately that big pay-off arrives but there is quite a long sequence of frustration to endure. Watch it for the true story element and not just because it’s another heist movie.

© Johnskibeat

Commissioned by Local Secrets online magazine...
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