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The Bank Job – Princess Margaret's Sex Scandal
Apr 16, 2008 (Updated Apr 16, 2008)
Review by t13monkeys
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Great casting, interesting premise, different type of bank heist movie
Cons:leaves a lot of loose-ends, the storytelling is uneven
The Bottom Line: A great way to tell the Baker Street Heist story, but director Donaldson's haphazard storytelling needs a bit refining.
The Bank Job is based on a true story of the 1971 Baker Street bank job that was covered up by the British government by a D-Notice gag order due to supposed sex photos that tied Princess Margaret with a drug dealer called Malcolm X. The robbers were in possession of these photos that would have been a huge embarrassment to the British Royal Family, MI-6 was sent to recover the photos and the media was told not to report on the matter. The Bank Job claims to be the first film to shed some light on the event, but its unclear as to how much of the film is real.
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With Jason Statham as the lead actor playing Terry Leather, a car dealer in debt, you should already expect typical Statham hallmarks, which usually involve copious amounts of absurd nudity coupled with a few moments of action-hero martial-arts imbued Statham. The Bank Job is stylistically another iteration of Crank, and Stathams other films. Even though hes switched over to director Roger Donaldson, who most certainly has improved his skills since Species, with the caffeine-driven pacing that never lets up, The Bank Job makes it feel like Statham has taken over his job.
The Bank Job for the first hour plays like every typical heist move youve seen. Terry gets offered a job by former lover Martine Love (Saffron Burrows), and proceeds to round up a crew in an Oceans 11-like manner minus the suave and talent. He enlists his buddies Dave Shilling (Daniel Mays) and Kevin Swain (Stephen Campbell Moore), Bambas (Alki David) to handle the technicalities of digging and Guy Singer (James Faulkner) as the all purpose con-artist. The problem with the buildup is that the bank heist isnt all too complicated or smooth as our modern day audience kind of expects, and the execution is pretty much a letdown.
But thats just it, the Bank Job kind of surprises you because the real meat of the story comes in the second half and the emerging side story that involves the parties interested in protecting their safe contents, and all the kinds of grimy blackmail material in the safe boxes. There are a lot of side stories that sometimes interesting as they are, dont get revisited until the very end, and sometimes you wish the movie wasnt nearly as much of a Statham-centric production. Its a suspense movie with a lot of unexpected twists, a ton of nudity (but not really sex) scenes, but lacking in the action department.
The Bank Job is an interesting departure from your typical bank heist when it comes down to it, especially since it draws attention to a real scandal that we wont ever really quite know too much about. The unfortunate thing is that because it is based on reality, where you might expect some action or a clever twist in a fictional screenplay, you wont find any.
The thing that hurts The Bank Job the most is that it never really finds its own style. Director Donaldson stylistically nips scenes from American Gangster and Godfather by showing a sequence of murders with little dialog, but he rushes them and lacks the flair and justification. It ends up making The Bank Job more of a hashed mix of Oceans 11 meets Godfather. It's a fun watch, but could still use some refining. Recommended rental.
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