Gerald Wright's Movie Coverage
THE BANK JOB MOVIE REVIEW
Directed by: Roger Donaldson
Running time: 110 minutes
Release date: March 7, 2008
Genre: Thriller, Crime, Action/Adventure and Biopic
MPAA Rating: R
The London bank, Lloyds Bank was robbed more than 35 years ago. This robbery was staged by MI5 to recover compromising pictures of Princess Margaret on the Caribbean Island of Mustique, documents of high level government corruption and a sexual scandals. This real life robbery was aired on American television on Monday, September 13, 1971. Such reporters as Harry Reasoner of ABC Evening News rapped it up abstractly as "Scotland Yard fails to find bank robbery through amateur radio operator as he overhears robbers walkie talkie conversations; London Lloyds Bank robbed of half million pounds, one and a half million in jewelry and valuables."
This highly charged heist thriller reenacts the events leading to, the robbery itself and the aftermath. When used car dealer with a low level criminal past Terry (Jason Stratham of Transporter, Snatch and Crank) gets a proposition of a foolproof bank robbery from an old girlfriend and super model Martine (Saffron Burrows), it sounds to good to be true. Terry owes money to the local mob and wants to get out of debt and make a better life for his wife Wendy (Keeley Hawes) and little girls Catherine and Julie (Taelor Samways and Kasey Baterip), so he agrees. He puts together his crew of local petty crooks to tunnel into the vault. During this sequence of events, the robbers are unaware that Martine was recruited by MI5 to orchestrate this scam to retrieve the documents and photographs. The film alleges that a well known West Indian criminal called Michael X had put the photos of the Princess in the vault for safekeeping as leverage to keep out of jail - and that was the point of the raid. Little did this ragtail group of robbers know that in the safety deposit boxes there were scandalous documents implicating crooked police officers and high echelon criminals and containing dirty secrets that could topple the monarchy, law enforcement and organized crime.
With the mixture of gangsters, Royal glamour, MI5 intrigue and comedy "cops and robbers" this riveting story of the "Walkie Talkie Robbery of 1971" is electrifying and spontaneous. The comedy is well set up when a ham radio operator (in real life Robert Rowlands) intercepts the messages of a walkie talkie of the rooftop lookout for the robbers. He calls in Scotland Yard to listen in on the robbery in progress. As Scotland Yard gets involved it ends up making very little difference because they did not know what branch of Lloyds Bank was being robbed.
The performances by this ensemble was fantastic. Director Donaldson is quoted as saying "Jason's like a British Steve McQueen. There's a really great, brooding sort of quality about him. He does a lot with a little, and he's very charismatic. He's not like anyone else that I know on screen." This is typical Stratham at his best. Saffron Burrows was alluring in her portrayal of her character Martine who gets caught up in a complicated and difficult love triangle. Her effortless poise on screen was brilliant. This film reminded me of the The Brinks Job (1978), because like The Brinks Job, this a funny and entertaining. At times The Bank Job is edge of your seat exciting. There is fine dialogue thoughout the film and the plot moves with a great rhythm; it held my interest from start to finish.
I recommend this film to all who enjoy action and intrigue with a sprinkle of comedy.
FILM RATING (A)