The Bank Job

Review Date:
Director: Roger Donaldson
Writer: Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais
Producers: Steve Chasman, Charles Roven
Jason Statham as Terry
Saffron Burrows as Martine
Richard Lintern as Tim
A two-bit car lot owner is being harassed by local thugs for owed money when he is presented with an opportunity of a life-time in which he, and some buds, can partake in a bank job that might score them millions of pounds (that’s British money, kids…and by the way, this takes place in the ‘70s, so that was even more money back then). The operation turns out to be a lot bigger than the amateur thieves ever imagined, and things slowly start to unravel. Or do they? A serious version of Woody Allen’s SMALL TIME CROOKS ensues!
I like crime movies. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m the wimpiest guy this side of wimpy guys when it comes to anything illegal in real life, or if I’m subconsciously planning to start a life of crime at some point in my unforeseen future, but either way, I enjoy watching movies in which people commit crimes and go through all of the things that come with that sorted life of crime. In the case of this film, the first five minutes includes about five different tit-shots and for that alone…you gotta figure that the movie can’t be all bad! In actuality, it’s quite good, especially if like me, you’re a fan of films featuring a bunch of folks getting together to commit a good ol’ fashioned robbery, along with solid acting, a groovy soundtrack and yes…I know it’s obvious, but I still need to say it: the great Jason Statham! At this point, I think Mr. Statham can star in a 2-hour cooking show and I would watch it, as long as he left his 3-day stubble on, and kicked a few guys’ heads in at some point (and for the record, he does so in this film…at some point!). But he’s actually not in “action hero” mode here, he’s just a poor ol’ English bloke looking to get lucky with a chance “bank job” of a lifetime. In fact, he’s even got a pretty wife and kids in this movie…no kidding!

And that’s one of the aspects that separated this film from the dillion other such “bank robbery” flicks: its insistence on showing the lead character’s home life and “love affair” with his wife. Of course, a movie wouldn’t be a movie without some love triangle possibilities, hence the inclusion of one skinny-ass Saffron Burrows, looking her Burrowest (Any time I see her in a movie, I’m reminded of her awesome scene from DEEP BLUE SEA in which she removes her wetsuit as the brainy shark is headed towards her. Great…acting!). But the film is ultimately all about movement and pacing, and if you enjoy flicks that move, move and then move some more, this one is ideal for you, because it actually encompasses about 12 different subplots within the bank job itself, but never really gets into slow-motion details about any of them. If you’re not paying attention for a minute though or can’t understand every single word that every single person is saying all the time (I didn’t, as some of those British accents were quite strong!), you might fall a little behind the maelstrom that becomes this film’s storyline, but the good news is that it only lasts about 100 minutes, although I could see how it could easily have been a 3-hour picture, if the director had chosen to lengthen his scenes, expand on back-stories and slow it all down.

But as it stands, the film moves at a clip, features a fun soundtrack and score, moments of gritty intensity, mild sexuality, plenty of intrigue and yes…even a half decent bank job! Its final sequence was also very nicely handled. I enjoyed it all, but did get a little lost along the way and would have liked it to have been paced a little slower and longer, but as is, it certainly is an entertaining British crime caper (not unlike Guy Ritchie’s earlier stuff, although less hip and frenetic). And the fact that it’s apparently based on a true story makes some of its crazier happenings…that much funner to watch. Statham for President…of kicking ass!!

(c) 2021 Berge Garabedian

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