Review: The Bank Job B

A Film Review By Stefan Vlahov

Director Roger Donaldson’s follow-up to his touching masterpiece The World’s Fastest Indian is the quick, dirty, and therefore appropriately named heist thriller The Bank Job. It is a film based on an infamous heist-gone-wrong in 1971 in which Terry (Jason Statham), a small-time scammer is offered the job of a lifetime by beautiful model Martine Love (the fearless Saffron Burrows), and during its execution, uncovers secrets that involve many British politicians, including the Royal family. Donaldson followers may view this film as a natural entry in the filmmaker’s varying and culture-spanning career. For me, The Bank Job is underwhelming compared to Donaldson’s previous effort on an emotional and technical level, but his skill behind the camera is evident from the get-go and while I would have liked it if he took his time the way he did with Indian, the film still capitalizes on his great handling of dialogue and characterization. Donaldson, predictably does not include a lot of action scenes in this film, which may disappoint Statham fans, but lends the film more credibility to the point that it actually feels like a faithful retelling of the heist. Too bad the production design does not live up to the great storytelling. The film’s unauthentic, too modern, look creates a battle in the minds of the audience as to what they are actually watching – a gritty account of a real event, or simply a fantastical depiction of a bank robbery. Another technical gripe I have with the film is the overbearing and too-serious score by J. Peter Robinson. Robinson scores even the lighter moments with a bravado that takes the viewer away from the moment, rendering it mostly ineffective. One wonders how much of this is due to Roger Donaldson, whose films have frequently been quite serious. Heck, this may be his funniest effort since Cadillac Man 18 years ago. Yet, in keeping with the structure of his last five films, The Bank Job starts out slow and the first 40 minutes are overplotted and dialogue-filled. But, and if you are a Donaldson follower, you will have predicted this, the last act is exciting, violent, and also dialogue-filled. I am reluctant to say that this part is the only one that is worth recommending as the film is interesting throughout, but this depends on the viewer’s attention span. And I am happy to see that Donaldson thinks said span is longer than 10 seconds.

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