Monday, April 6, 2015


One of the pleasures of watching a heist flick like THE BANK JOB (2008), is anticipating just exactly what's going to go wrong with the caper. And you know something will. It's one of the tropes of this sub-genre of crime film. No matter how well planned and executed the heist is, something will inevitably go wrong and generate even more suspense for the duration of the film.

In THE BANK JOB (which is set in 1971), British intelligence outfit MI-5 is very interested in a particularly incriminating set of photographs stored in a safety deposit box in a London bank vault. They can't legally touch it but they can recruit a team of amateur bank robbers to tunnel into the vault from the basement of an adjacent purse shop to get the photos and whatever other valuables (money, jewels, stocks, bonds, etc.) they want.

It's not a bad plan and the team, led by Jason Statham with the lovely Saffron Burrows the contact point with the government spooks, gets exactly what they came for. And much more.

Turns out there was more than one set of incriminating photos stored in a safety deposit box and the thieves now have them in their possession along with a ledger (belonging to a pornography kingpin) whose entries list payoffs to various crooked London cops.

The robbers soon find themselves in a squeeze play. The spies want the photos. The mobster wants his ledger. Statham and gang just want to survive and get away to enjoy their loot. It's up to Statham to negotiate some tricky business to insure his safety but not before a few of the gang are caught and killed by various players.

Loosely based on a true story (a London bank was robbed in much the same way in 1971), THE BANK JOB is competently directed by Roger Donaldson with a good script by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais. There's not a lot of action here until the very end when Statham takes out some mobsters. The suspense slowly builds and the story takes some interesting twists and turns.

THE BANK JOB isn't the greatest heist film ever made but it's solid, well done and worth seeing.


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