Thursday, June 19, 2008

THE BANK JOB: Quite Well Done

THE BANK JOB (crime thriller)

Cast: Jason Statham, Saffron Burrows, Stephen Campbell Moore, Daniel Mays and James Faulkner
Director: Roger Donaldson
Time: 110 mins
Rating: * * *
Stratham & Burrows in THE BANK JOB
WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL? Sex scandals and cover-ups by the higher-ups. Blackmail, Black Power and a bank robbery. Throw in a Soho porn king and some murders and you have the prime ingredients for a pulp crime thriller. However, 'The Bank Job' is not just pulp. It is based on a real life robbery that made front page headlines in 1971 until MI-5 stopped further coverage by the press (on the grounds that it created a danger to National Security), and turning the story into myth and memory. Screenwriters Dick Clement and Ian Lefrenais, supposedly collaborating with anonymous sources, try to fill in the gaps with this movie. Although what we see in 'The Bank Job' is speculative, it has a ring of truth and fits in with the facts.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT? MI5 agent Tim Everett (Richard Lintern) is after the contents of safety deposit box 118 of a Baker Street bank vault in London. It has compromising pictures of Princess Margaret that are being used to blackmail the government. He in turn 'blackmails' Martine Love (Saffron Burrows) into rounding up a gang to pull of the bank vault job and she picks Terry Leather (Jason Statham), a garage owner who is deep in debt to a loanshark. Everett and his bosses feel that such an amateur like Terry could easily be disposed of.

While Terry and his crew dig a tunnel into the vault, he begins to suspect that there's more to the vault caper than his old flame Martine has told him...

HITS & MISSES: Unlike most of Statham's action movies, this one is the most complex, weaving together many subplots, including police corruption, dirty tactics by MI5, hard-core criminal activity (including murder and extortion) and, of course, the bank caper itself. And yes, among all of Statham's movies, this is one where the audience will root for him most. His Terry is a doting father and a caring husband. Burrows provides the usual touch of femme fatale with a lot of intrigue.
The movie opens with a naked frolic in the water (part of which is censored) but its purpose will become apparent when Black activist Michael X (Peter De Jersey) is thrown into the mix.

THE LOWDOWN: An engaging story and gripping action all the way.


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