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"The Bank Job"

Directed by Roger Donaldson.
Written by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais.
Starring Jason Statham, Saffron Burrows, Richard Lintern and Daniel Mays.

Release Year:  2008
Review Date:  4/21/08


With Meg out of town, I decided to catch a late show last week...and, lucky me, I made a good choice out of a random movie, because "The Bank Job" is Jason Statham's first wall-to-wall good movie in quite a while.

In this retelling of a real life bank robbery in 1971 London, a group of petty con men, thieves and low-life villains consort to rob a local bank of its safe deposit boxes, thanks to an inside tip from a woman named Martine (Saffron Burrows), a former girlfriend of Terry Leather (Statham).  Getting a six-person crew together, Terry and his team plot to rob this bank, not knowing that Martine got the bank tip from a man named Tim (Richard Lintern), who works for MI-5...he wants an outside group of criminals to rob the bank because one of the safe deposit boxes has incriminating photos of a high-ranking government officials, taken by Michael X (Peter de Jersey), a civil rights criminal/activist who takes his act from Malcolm X back in the States.  Did I mention that Michael X is working closely with one of the biggest porn kings in London?

Yep, one thing leads to another, and we've got a whole bunch of double-crossing plotlines to deal with once the gang robs the bank.  The pacing and the humor of "The Bank Job" are both surprisingly good; I almost can't believe now that the guy that directed "Cocktail", "Species" and "Cadillac Man" did "The Bank Job", because this is a great summer ride of a flick.  Statham is balanced well here by the other members of the robbery team, but also by the fantastically British side characters who either deal in murder, conspiracy, porn, or slim shadiness...I love movies like this, with so many over-the-top British lines and period settings.

I didn't love the way the film gets violent in its final half-hour; it's tough, mixing how things wrap up given how the film started.  I did like that there was great info on what happened to some of the film's principles after the movie's timeline ended, but what about some of the bank robbers?  There were a couple of other minor holes, but "The Bank Job" is still quite solid throughout.  Given the level of security that must be evident in banks today, it's fun to watch how old-skool crooks might do it if they have the resources.  This one has been out for almost two months, so if you want to catch up, you better hurry!

Rating:  $9.50 Show


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09