Directed by: Roger Donaldson
Premise: A group of small time crooks are brought together to pull off a bank heist, seizing the contents of safe deposit boxes. When government and underworld figures discover that sensitive and salacious items of their boxes have been taken, they begin to track down the burglars.
What Works: The Bank Job is a successful reiteration of the heist formula with some unique touches that raise it above the average genre picture. The plot is complex with crosses and double crosses, but the film is able to maintain a very delicate balance between all of the interested parties and navigate their machinations in a coherent way. The lead crook, played by Jason Statham, appeals to the actor’s usual sensitive tough guy image, but the role gives his character a family and a background and Statham is able to pull off one of his most likeable and interesting characters since Snatch. The Bank Job also includes a lot of humor to the film, which adds a lot to the characters. It’s snappy, fluid humor that does not stop for belly laughs but fits into the overall pacing of the film and it works to make characters likable and release enough tension to allow some breathing room. The Bank Job also has a scandalous tone that works for it; the film delves into a world of organized crime, government corruption, and trades of the flesh and it goes there fully and without apology but also manages to keep its focus on the character and the story. The result is a film that comes out with an authentic tone but without a sense of exploitation.
What Doesn’t: The supporting cast of the film is not as strong as other heist films like The Ladykillers or Snatch. The characters of The Bank Job are more real but their lack of flair makes the film a little less engaging than it might have been.
Bottom Line: The Bank Job is a terrific heist thriller. It’s lean and it’s mean but it also got some nice work by Statham and some fun moments that make it a memorable film.
Episode: #182 (March 16, 2008)