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Mar 8, 2008

Fletch's Film Review: The Bank Job

I'm a fan of heist movies. Some, like my wife, might say that I'm a sucker for them, and they (she) would probably be right. They are to me what Jerry Bruckheimer's films must be to millions of people - (somewhat) mindless flicks that manage to entertain regardless of their quality.

As for The Bank Job? It is quite possibly the most average movie ever made. Telling the "true" story of a group of Londoners recruited to snatch some loot by the British Secret Service (it's a long story), this film manages to mildly entertain you, but is one that you will most likely forget within hours of watching. There is little-to-no character development (though that's not typically a strong point for this genre, anyway), the heist itself is indubitably straightforward, as is the story, which takes almost no twists and turns. By that account, you might assume that the producers were indeed true to history, but I don't know how much that helps the film.

Also missing is just about any sense of style, a must for this genre. Though the film, which takes place in and around 1971, is bookended by classic rock hits (if I recall, it opened with "Spirit in the Sky"), any semblance of music disappears throughout the remainder, as does any attempt by the filmmakers to spice up the action with interesting camera angles or tricks. Though this might be seen as a positive for a movie that will no doubt be compared to "thrillers from the 70s" and hailed as "gripping and direct," I found that it mostly just left the movie feeling like a documentary. With a story lacking in intrigue, or intriguing characters, something must pique my interest form time to time, right?

Though I'm a fan of star Jason Statham, and see this as one of his better choices in the last several years (as opposed to that other Job of his - the Italian one), I can't help but think that he doesn't so much act as he just plays himself in every movie. I'm not asking for Daniel Day-Lewis here, but even a slight variation from character to character couldn't hurt. The other actors, outside of Saffron Burrows, are largely unknowns, and their bland characters here - the only interesting characters here are Peter De Jersey's "Michael X" and James Faulkner's butler-ish "Guy Singer" - probably won't serve to change that fact. If anything, The Bank Job could have benefited greatly from some "that guys" for the audience to latch onto.

Still, I can't say that this is a bad movie. For all its faults, the straightforwardness lends to its believability, and there's really only one gaping plot hole remaining (regarding the gang's "gear"), although it does come across as lazy, as just a few lines of dialogue needed to be trimmed to correct it. Everything is solid if unspectacular - really just a shame when you look at that excellent poster. It's the best thing going on.

Fletch's Film Rating:

"You seem a decent fellow. I hate to kill you."

By the way, Reel Fanatic recently published a nice list of some of his favorite heist flicks. Check it out.

9 people have chosen wisely: on "Fletch's Film Review: The Bank Job"

Anonymous said...

Great review, Fletch, you killed 'em with indifference. I like Statham, too, but am afraid that the reason his roles are all the same is that he can't do anything else.

And I kinda liked -- kinda, mind you -- "The Italian Job." Ah, well, to each his own slick, empty, entertainment.

Nick said...

I agree completely, Fletch. If you've seen my review, I also gave it my 'average' score.

Daniel said...

Great catch on the "gear." I forgot about that after the movie was over, but right after the robbery I was like, "Wait a minute, whaaa?" Who knows. It's interesting that the real story is so hard to get ahold of because of the "D-notice."

David said...

This is what I expected of the movie, but I am still going to see it since like you, I am a sucker for these heist movies. There is just something about them that I just can't get enough of even if they are bad a lot of the time. Thanks for the heads up on the quality; I will keep that in mind as I consider paying $10 to see it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your very kind comment on my blog today. It was nice to have someone notice all the hard work that went into it.

I have zero interest in heist films but because you write so well, I really enjoyed this review anyway.

Also, I get such a kick out of your ratings scale. It's hilarious. I can't help but read it with the accent of each character, which makes it even funnier.

Reel Whore said...

Gonna have to agree but disagree with you on this. I really enjoyed this despite the lack of twists and turns. If you want twisty, I think the Ocean films were plot twisted enough for a decade's worth of heist films.

I caught that 'gear' comment too, but when the vault opened and the gear was gone I assumed it was an unneeded scene. If anything didn't work for me it was Gail side story but I won't say more on that, can't ruin in for folks.

Matt said...

This movie seems destined for a future television viewing.

Anonymous said...

Gail side story, and Gail's boyfriend, and his friend. That whole trio bothered me. (Trying to be vague).

If they really were important, they should have had more screen-time to get you connected. If they weren't integral to the story, then they should have just been cut.

robkroese said...

That's too bad. I'll watch just about anything with Jason Statham in it.

But I'm not gay.