Ahoy, squirts! Quint here to introduce a new spy who caught an early screening of the Jason Statham/Saffron Burrows heist flick THE BANK JOB. I'm a particular fan of this genre and it makes me smile that this particular film is set in 1971. I love a good old fashioned heist that doesn't have to involve a computer to be pulled off. Here's the review! Enjoy!
Hows it going Harry, like many other reviews on this site i'm going to start this one with a familiar introduction; long time reader, first time contributor. Having recently moved to London, I was approached in a shopping centre and asked to attend an advance audience screening for "The Bank Job" directed by Roger Donaldson ('The Recruit') and starring Jason Statham ('Crack', 'Snatch') and Saffron Burrows ('Troy'). The basic premise of the film is as follows (some minor spoilers): London 1971, Statham plays Terry, a small time crook/car salesman, who is approached by his ex-flame Martine (Saffron Burrows) with an opportunity to rob a local bank. Martine is of course acting under false pretenses and is working with government agencies to steal something of value to them kept at the bank. The objects inside the bank manage to tie in the royal family, numerous government agencies, crooked cops, various underworld criminals and a black supremacist,causing the film to shift locations between London and most surprisingly my home country of Trinidad. All of this is based on a true story as well. Ok,so that pretty much covers it. The film starts off fairly well, with a quick prologue of seemingly unconnected events and then jumps into the main story. There is a nice use of popular music from the period in the prologue and at a few points throughout the film, though the majority is scored with fairly typical 'thriller' music that didn't do much to add to my enjoyment of the film. Direction was fairly tight throughout the film, it had an overall glossy look with a blend of handheld and steady cam shots. It never really developed a style of its own, but never had me thinking that I was sitting through something unwatchable. There were a handful of very well-shot scenes and cool moments, though nothing that really blew me away or registered as mind-blowing. Editing was pretty good for the majority of the film as well. It jumped straight into the heist and pretty much moved smoothly until the end, which i feel could have been tightened up slightly, but was not really drawn out with anything too unnecessary. Acting was decent all around. Statham is an actor that I have always been a fan of, and he does a pretty good job, even if he suffers from a little lack of range at some points. The rest of the cast do what they have to do, the rapport between the members of the gang is somewhat limited but believable enough, and the antagonists are all painted with a one dimensional token bad guy stroke, which suits the type of movie well enough. The obligatory love angle between Statham and Burrows was fairly groan inducing in its simplicity, and i think the film could have benefited either from its removal, or from developing it fully. The overall culture and style of the time is also captured well, with period cars, clothes and music filling the backgrounds of all shots. The characters retain some level of British slang, however considering i'm not a brit myself and understood all of it, i'm assuming it was just enough to make it 'appear' british to international audiences, but not enough to hurt its appeal. Right, for those of you still reading its time for me to go off on a rant to the filmmakers, the review is pretty much done so skip to the end if you don't care. I was born and raised in Trinidad and i don't sound Jamaican. My family members don't sound jamaican, my friends don't sound Jamaican and in fact i've only met 2 people in my life who sound Jamaican and guess what....yes, they were Jamaican. I'm fully away that not many people in the world know, or care for that matter, much about Trinidad, and that the vast majority consider Jamaica = The Caribbean, but it seems that if you are going through all the trouble of getting vocal coaches and/or actors from across the world, at least get them to sound like what they are supposed to sound like. Oh and as far as i know, Trinidad looks nothing like a commune in central Africa (which if anyone reading is from there, i'm very sorry, i'm sure its lovely).Ok, well maybe parts do...but thats besides the point. That being said, it was still nice to see my little country be referenced in a movie and Peter De Jersey (Michael X) did do our accent sort of well...at points. So, on a whole, I consider this film to be a quite enjoyable albeit slightly benign thriller/crime drama. I would not have been disappointed if I paid to see it in a theater, just don't go in there expecting something like 'Heat' and you'll have a good time. if you must call me, call me 1/2 Pint.