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Bandits (2001)
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Review Date: October 07, 2001
Director: Barry Levinson
Writer: Harley Peyton
Producers: Barry Levinson, Arnold Rifkin
Actors:
Bruce Willis
Billy Bob Thornton
Cate Blanchett
Plot:
A cool guy and a nervous guy break out of jail and begin robbing banks together, by kidnapping the bank manager on the nights before their robberies, and getting them to hand over the money early in the morning. One day, they stumble onto a woman named Kate, whose life sucks with her husband, and who decides to latch on to these outlaws. It isn't long before each of the boys has a crush on her, and their life on the run gets more complicated.
Critique:
Very ho-hum. This movie isn't about anything original, so that's out the window. The trailer makes it look funny, but after having seen the movie, I can guarantee you, it's not a comedy, so let's drop that to the side. The dramatic elements in the film are few and far between, and to be honest, not all that interesting either. So that's in the sack. Hmmmm...what else? Oh yeah, the acting...yes, that's pretty good, but nothing extra-ordinary. So what the hell is it about this 2-hour movie that makes it worth seeing, you might be asking yourself? Well, not too much according to me, and you can definitely skip it in the theatres, because there ain't much here in which you should invest your hard-earned bucks. Rent it on video, you ask? Sure, it's a decent time-spender (that is, if you have two hours to kill and don't mind slowly prodding through this thing) and the opening jail break-out scene is pretty cool, the ending surprising (although pretty unbelievable) and Billy Bob Thornton, a joy to watch. But the basic idea behind the film is played out after the first half hour and the film just goes into major "re-dial" mode soon after that. Alright, we get it, they're "clever" bank robbers who found a unique way to rob banks...but what else?!? Is a love triangle really worthy of another plot-line? Not really. I thought the film was supposed to be about these bank-robbers (hence, the title), but most of the time, it seemed to rotate around this whole three-way love tryst, and it rarely stimulated anything original, engaging or interesting in that respect.

Sure, Cate Blanchett is fun in her role, but how many dysfunctional people can you fit inside a movie before you lose any true relation to them and stop giving a crap? I was sorta into this movie the whole way through but it just dragged on for too long, went over the same things over and over again, and didn't really have much of a point or entertainment value to it. And what's with all of the characters being strangely abnormal? Willis' cousin in the movie seems to start off as a "goofball" but progresses into a full-blown mentally-challenged individual by the end of the movie. Was that done on purpose or was he just over-playing his stupidity role? Also, why was his lame little sub-plot in the film at all...or that bogus "America's Most Wanted"-type TV show? (this was parodied in NATURAL BORN KILLERS back in 1994, guys...give it a rest!) So why am I even giving this film that high of a rating? Well, I really dug Thornton's hypochondriac character and Blanchett is generally pretty solid in anything she does. I also liked the opening and ending sequences, the latter fooling me into believing something that wasn't there, and I also enjoyed most of the banter between Willis and Thornton. But overall, the film goes on for too long, doesn't bring much originality to the "bank robbing" movie motif and rarely cracked me up (but comedy is a very subjective thing, so it might just tickle your funny bone). So are you bored and interested in seeing a so-so movie in the comfort of your own house? Look no further, this generic flick might just be the ideal rental for your basic needs. Now is that a hearty recommendation or what?!?
(c) 2016 Berge Garabedian
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