Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Bank Job

The Bank Job is a movie about a heist. This automatically puts it three steps closer to awesome because I, like Dane Cook, believe that every man truly desires to someday be part of a heist. Similar to another favorite movie of mine, The Inside Man, this heist has far reaching political implications. In this case, it cuts all the way to the royal family. The film is also based on a true story, which ratchets the intrigue up a few notches.

The Bank Job is set in 1971 London, with all the post-mod chic and squalor that accompany that setting, and stars Jason Statham, of Snatch and LSa2SB fame. Statham plays Terry, a down on his luck used car salesman who owes a lot of money to some unsavory personalities.

Opposite Statham is the tall, beautiful, and bisexual Saffron Burrows, currently featured in ABC's Boston Legal. Burrows plays Martine, a friend of Terry's, who happens to be sleeping with the owner of the security company who's going to be overhauling the alarm system at Llyods Bank.

Outside of the two leads, there aren't any big name actors, but it doesn't hold the film back. The acting as a whole is solid, but no one truly stands out. It's a solid film, definitely worth watching in theater. And this isn't a case of my tastes simply being different that everyone else's, as evidenced by it's garnering a 79% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

For those of you who want a more in depth explanation, or don't intend to see the movie, but still want to know what happens, I'll give you an idea here. But I warn you, here there be spoilers.

As mentioned earlier, Terry has a large outstanding debt, and Martine knows a bank that will be without it's alarms for a while. They put two and two together, and come up with a team of six, later seven, people to rob the safe deposit box vault.

They rent a nearby store, and proceed to drill their way 40 feet, and up through the floor of the bank vault. While in The Inside Man, the robbers had everything go off without a hitch, and generally thought circles around everyone in the movie and their cousin, the criminals in The Bank Job are far more human. They hit snags along the way, everything from old catacombs under the city, to an amateur ham radio operator accidentally intercepting their communications. Despite their blunders, through sheer luck and moxie, they pull of the heist, and make off with the contents of over 300 safe deposit boxes.

Here's where the movie gets real interesting. Inside those boxes was over $4 million in cash and jewels, and other assorted goods ranging from a case of vintage champagne, to an unwashed pair of panties. Among those objects that the owners wanted to keep away from prying eyes and fingers were several more insidious objects. The owner of a local bordello kept a series of pictures of powerful politicians making use of her house's services. A local pimp and smut peddler kept a ledger detailing his bribes given out to corrupt cops. And the crown jewels of the Pyrrhic haul was in lockbox 118, owned by a black rights activist named Michael X. Mr. X kept a set of pictures capturing Princess Margaret in the midst of a 3 way tryst during her recent vacation in the Caribbean.

Needless to say, everyone wants these items, except for the criminals who now find them in their possession. Now, rather than simply the police, Terry, Martine, and co. find themselves trying to dodge, stave off, and appease the local thugs, the clean cops, the corrupt cops, and Britain's own spooks from MI5 (or MI6, they never keep them straight). Terry finds himself flying by the seat of his pants, and pulling off decisions by the skin of his teeth. Deals are cut, people are kidnapped, and people are killed. It all gets quite exciting towards the end. Which is why you should go see it.

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