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The Bank Job

I've seen quite a few movies that deal with bank vault robbery. Once the contents are stolen the intelligence agencies get their balls rolling (no pun) and we're usually subjected to a cat and mouse game between the robbers and the intel. But what happens if the contents stolen belong to shady high profiles who want them to remain a secret. Of course none of them would go to police to give an itemized list asking for a fast recovery. They're going to find their own means of getting back what is lost. This movie, based on a true story that happened in London in 1971 is about corrupt cops and porn kingpins chasing an amateur gang that hits the jackpot with a bank vault robbery.

Terry Leather (Jason Statham) is a small time ex-con now running a used car shop, happily married with two kids. Martine Love, an old flame drops one day and offers a bank job. She says that the alarm system is deactivated and this might as well be an opportunity for a big league game. There's an ulterior motive that Terry doesn't know: Michael X, a self-claimed black Robinhood but actually a drug lord and a criminal of other sorts has photographs of a royal figure in compromising positions in one of those vaults and uses them as his immunity against prosecution. MI 6, the British secret intelligence service needs to get its hand on those photographs to press charges on Michael X and since they don't have a high-level clearance to directly get to his vault, they arrange for this heist.

I don't want to give away too many details about this high-class movie. For about first two thirds the director maintains a lightness that kept me engaged but also allowing me lay back a bit. But then the murder of a member of the heist sharply changes the tone - it's not a summer entertainer anymore, here's a serious story unfolding in unexpected way and I care about the characters. The underground businessmen are worried of their exposure, the crooked cops who've aided them all along are more worried, the good cops are helpless and the royal figures' decent image is at stake. The direction by Roger Donaldson is so fluent that one can sense the feelings and temperaments of each character without any effort at all.

For a crime drama there's a surprisingly good family scene in the movie. When Terry Leather gets home after the heist his wife slaps him with angst - not for his unlawful act but for an unfaithful act. There are only a handful of scenes that shows Terry with his family and in these few minutes the screenplay establishes how bound he is to his family. Now, that's rare for a movie that concentrates on a crime.

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4 Responses to “The Bank Job”

  1. # Blogger ohmsdeeps

    well said prasad.I did watch this movie after reading your positive review and I was not disappointed as well.
    I saw this DVD in BBuster rack and skipped it ,because I thought it was going to be a one more Transporter which I would say a Gille or tirupachi of hollywood.:-).
    At the sametime ,I have to admit that I was kind of disappointed with that ending scenes.
    I felt very dramatical and predictable at the end just as any other hollywood masala flicks.
    But not a bad choice for a Friday mood.  

  2. # Blogger Prasad Venkataramana

    Ohm,
    The movie is inspired by true events. May be that's what happened to the gang at the end - drama, but true.  

  3. # Blogger Radhika

    On an entirely different note, have you seen 'City of God'?  

  4. # Blogger Prasad Venkataramana

    Radhika,
    Here's a semi-baked piece on 'City of God':
    http://screenart.blogspot.com/2006/09/city-of-god-movie-thoughts.html  

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