"The Bank Job” hits the ground running


March 12, 2008, midnight | By Sean Howard | 12 years, 7 months ago

Unusual heist flick sure to please even the most skeptical


There are some movies that like to masquerade under the title of "based on a true story," as this title seems to give a blank check as to how far a movie can move into absurdity or falsehood. Fortunately, "The Bank Job" is not one of those movies.

Directed by Roger Donaldson, "The Bank Job" brings to light the story of one of the strangest robberies in British history. Terry (Jason Statham) owns and operates a failing car sales garage, where he is harassed by two debt-collectors who proceed to damage to some of his cars and leave. Martine (Saffron Burrows), Terry's beautiful ex-lover, tells him and his group of old chums of an operation that involves robbing a bank on Baker Street, London. Unbeknownst to Terry and his friends, the entire event is being orchestrated by MI5, the British equivalent of the FBI. They want Martine to rob a special safety deposit box that contains lewd pictures of a Royal family member. The lewd pictures are being used as blackmail by a militant who goes by Michael X (Peter de Jersey), so that MI5 will not prosecute him.

Statham brings back the tough-guy persona that only he can pull off, and his chums look goofy by comparison. But despite his phenomenal acting, the viewer has to wait until the last 10 minutes of the movie for a fight scene that, in any other Statham movie, would have occurred an hour ealier. Burrows adds a touch of sophistication to the film by playing a complex character – she has a dream of "starting over" which is played out as an explanation for a character's motive.

Almost every character brings something to the movie, with the grand exception of Michael X. The side story of Michael X is almost completely irrelevant to the robbery story. The way the film jumps from the digging tunnel to a black militant's book signing is tacky and unnecessary if X's story isn't explained.

De Jersey convincingly portrays Michael X as the crazy drug dealer and self-styled Black revolutionary he was in real life, but this performance only takes up airtime. The only relevant fixture of Michael X's portrayal is the fact that his file in the National British Archive remains classified until the Jan.1, 2054.

At a glance, it's obvious that this is no "Ocean's 11." There are no crazy special effects, no fancy gadgets, no innovative schemes to get the cold hard cash and no thieves turning on each other in a bloody mess. In this movie the robbers do it the old fashioned way, they dig a hole over the weekend and hope for the best.

Instead, the beauty of this heist flick lies in the fact that it appears more real than any other. So many things can go wrong in a regular robbery, and this film accurately portrays the chaos that can ensue. "The Bank Job"'s authenticity and originality is in the way it allows the audience to feel as if they are part of the robbery, mistakes and all, blissfully unaware that their time is ticking away.

"The Bank Job" is rated R for sexual content, nudity, violence and language. It is now playing everywhere.




Sean Howard. There is a spy among us and his name is Sean Howard. Originally from Dallas, Texas, Sean moved to Germantown prior to his current residence in Gaithersburg. Although he has now lived in Maryland for most of his life, he has retained his loyalty to … More »

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