Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Bank Job (2008)

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The Bank Job is a guilty pleasure; a thrill ride that is quite fun at the time but has little, if any, redeeming value. Thoroughly British, the film is based on the true story of the most lucrative and peculiar heist in the history of England. Jason Statham, most well known for his role in The Transporter series, stars as Terry Leather, a part-time villain given the opportunity to strike-big one last time before getting out of the world of crime. Saffron Burrows co-stars as Martine Love, the bombshell ex-model who gives Leather the tip on the caper. The heist is complicated but plausible, but what Leather doesn't know is the role and stakes Martine and the British government have in the heist. The back story involving government corruption, political and social radicals, and the underworld of pornography and the sex business provide a terrifically entertaining counterpart to the thrills involved with the heist itself. Unfortunately, beneath the shell of entertainment, the audience will likely find absolutely nothing. The acting is definitively mediocre, the direction rips off countless heist movies of the past, the score could not possibly be more chiche', and everything from the characters' names to most of the dialogue is pure cheese. The only noteworthy performances are by Peter De Jersey as Michael X, Britain's counterpart to Malcolm, and David Suchet as Lew Vogel, a smut-director and sex entrepreneur who has paid off Britain's finest for years. The two bad-guys are both deliciously dirty and the few scenes involving the two of them together stand out. There are more than a handful of honest laughs, most provided by the typical "team" of friends and specialists involved in the completing the heist. The laughs are supplemented by a twisting plot involving many shady characters who have a lot to gain and even more to lose. The silver-lining surrounding the entire film is that it is somehow based on truth. The plot seems inconceivable in terms of reality and cheesiness, yet the fact that the events actually happened the way they are presented takes away some of the shame felt for having enjoyed a film with zero emotional, artistic, or social value. The loony British humor and "how did this happen?" factor make The Bank Job an unexpected, yet slightly embarrassing, suspense-thriller indulgence.

Good for: heist fans, fans of "based on true story" films, British film fans, someone bored

Bad for: "film" lovers

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