The Bank Job (2008) Poster


User Reviews

Review this title
193 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Improbable Reality
janos4517 March 2008
If "The Bank Job" were fiction, it would be a fairly decent robbery caper. As it is, "The Bank Job," a veritable documentary and realistic whodunit, is awesome.

Unlike most films, this one requires a couple of advance tips: First, watch it with the improbable idea in mind that most of it is actual, hard-to-believe truth; second, don't be impatient. As the story of a 1971 bank robbery begins, the setting in London, the parade of seemingly unconnected stories and characters is rather confusing, complex, disjointed. But stay with it - there is a crescendo of excitement and excellence.

The true elements of "The Bank Job," some hidden until recently by Britain's "D Notice" censorship law (modified in 1993, becoming DA, or Defense Advisory) are these:

1. A big bank robbery did take place on Baker Street in 1971, culprits never found, money never recovered. After initial big headlines, the story disappeared from the newspapers.

2. There was serious police corruption in London in the 1970s, cops on payrolls of drug dealers and pornographers.

3. Princess Margaret was involved in a series of affairs, some caught on compromising photos which were not published by the otherwise relentlessly sensational British press, under the D-Notice rule.

4. There was a militant British black-power advocate, called Michael X, involved in a one-man, multi-country crime wave. (In 1971, John Lennon paid for Michael X's bail, something not mentioned in the film.)

"The Bank Job" director Roger Donaldson (of "No Way Out") brings together all these true threads in a way that may be true even in its totality, director and cast prevailing over some shoddy work from too many writers.

The content is all true, the context is excitingly possible. Did the government, in trying to prevent exposure of Princess Margaret by evidence in Michael X's possession, mastermind the bank robbery? Was MI-5 or MI-6 (says a policeman in the film: "I never remember which is which") involved, and actually assisting the robbers? Again, possibly.

The cast is remarkable: Jason Statham is the ringleader, the bad guy of "Transporter" and "The Italian Job" turning into a scourge of the really bad guys. Saffron Burrows, James Spader's vamp nemesis on "Boston Legal," brings her remarkable name and looks to the criminally and emotionally ambiguous major female role.

Peter De Jersey is a totally scary Michael X; David ("Poirot") Suchet is a frightening crime lord; and a whole host of top British stage actors fill in big roles and small ones. Don't be misled by reviews speaking of a so-so thriller - "The Bank Job" is a great deal more than that, even to the point that you may want to see it more than once.
321 out of 349 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Finally, 2008 has a movie to brag about!
Smells_Like_Cheese14 April 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I was watching Ebert and Roper the other day on TV and they were discussing 2008's movies and how over all they have been disappointed, I think we all have. But they did discuss the top movies to see and The Bank Job was in their top three, I finally found a theater that was still playing the movie, I saw it today and I have to say that I really loved this heist movie. It's definitely one of the better heist movies in a very long time because it brings something different to the table, this isn't a movie about the heist, it's the aftermath of the heist. We are always usually left wondering if the robbers got away with the heist afterwords in movies. Now this movie is based on a true story, it's based in the 1970's(bonus it doesn't remind you every 10 minutes) and it's about just amateur robbers that pulled off one of the largest heists in England's history with finding corrupt cops and ending badly.

Martine Love approaches Terry Leather, an amateur thief and long time friend. She offers information to get into one of the biggest heists they could hit, the ability to break into a vault. Terry and his group successfully break into the vault and takes four million pounds, including jewelery, cash, bonds, and some extremely private and damaging photos of the mobsters and government of England. When the group just about gets away with it, things go terribly wrong when one of the members are captured and they found out there was an alterer motive to this heist.

The Bank Job has great acting, terrific editing, and is just a great thriller that truly keeps your attention. Jason Statham, this guy has never really stood out to me as someone who could be a good actor, most of his movies could never display what he could do, but The Bank Job is without a doubt his finest role to date that I'm aware of, he pulls the part off well and makes the story more real. The Bank Job has great drama and action, it's a great movie that I'm really glad I saw, a big recommendation if you're looking for a good movie to watch.

97 out of 110 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
That'll go nicely with a plate of chips
Zentaurion25 March 2008
Film-making at it's finest.

Nothing loud and boisterous. No over-stylized cinematography, pointless set-pieces, cheesy dialogue, or over-flowing emotions.

A perfect example of why the finest movie-making talent in Hollywood is British. And possibly the best caper movie of recent times.

Had this been from Hollywood, every fine detail of the complex subtext in the story would have been blown apart. Instead, everything is under-played, the characters are superbly realistic and believable, and the script sharp as a pin. And the cast is a brilliant ensemble.

Worth many repeated viewings for the subtle humour and to get the most out of the twisting plot developements.
261 out of 323 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
I'll Throw a Brick at You!
WriterDave11 March 2008
Sold to the American public as another D-level action pic staring Jason Statham, "The Bank Job" is actually a crafty British heist flick based on an incredible true story. The screenwriters deserve credit for creating a serviceable script with so many intertwining stories based on little actual evidence, conjecture, here-say, and conspiracy theories revolving around royal and political sex scandals, militant Caribbean drug lords, undercover MI5 agents, bumbling crooks, crooked cops, and double-crosses and cover-ups. It could've easily been a confusing mess, but providing the viewer pays attention, "The Bank Job" gets the job done as crackerjack entertainment.

Though aptly directed by veteran Roger Donaldson, the film does suffer from an overly salacious opening ten minutes designed to grab the audience's attention, some shoddy editing, and an intrusively bad action-style music score. There's also an attention to 1970's period detail in the dialogue and clothes that comes across as caricature and adds an accidentally humorous undertone to the otherwise cold-as-ice affair. However, the details of the "truth is stranger than fiction" tale and the fun had by the ensemble cast make for a breezy way to spend a few hours.

Donaldson also has an eye for the ladies. Led by a smashingly gorgeous Saffron Burrows (looking like a European version of Michelle Pfeiffer circa 1992), the powerful women depicted in "The Bank Job" are far more than just eye candy. Statham is also fairly good as the head of the bank robbing crew, and when he finally throws a brick at a guy near the end of the film, it will put a smile on any action fan's face.

Things get tidied up a bit too nicely in the end, where it seems only the really villainous characters have to face justice, but before the credits role, there are a series of real-life epilogued details plastered on the screen that make the viewer realize maybe this all really did happen. Now that's a jolly good show.
105 out of 136 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Slow beginning but brilliant pay off
simonparker199012 February 2008
I'll be honest, I only saw The Bank Job because I had some free tickets for an advance screening, had I have not got these tickets I would not have bothered seeing it. The only trailer I had saw for it just didn't really appeal to me, I do enjoy Jason Statham movies, but this one seemed a bit serious in my eyes. Still I went today to the 6.30 screening and was surprised to enjoy it quite as much as I did. Admittedly for the first half hour I did get quite bored, the characters weren't really memorable and the set up seemed really dull. Thankfully when the heist gets under way, and especially the aftermath, the movie hits top gear and left me thrilled. The fact the movie is based on a true story still leaves me quite amazed, as the events that happen seem purely like the stuff that you see in the movies. How much of it is real and how much of it is purely to make it a better movie, a fight involving Statham I am certain didn't happen. The performances are surprisingly well rounded, Statham doing a brilliant job and the majority of the supporting cast getting some great scenes. Alas the movie does start to fall apart under close inspection, the plot is never concluded quite as well as I would have liked, and the movie does have some long stretches where not a lot is happening. If you can overlook this fact then you will a lot to enjoy in this very well made movie.

So onto the performances. As I have said Statham does a surprisingly admirable job in the film. When you look at his CV of films you realise he isn't exactly the most talented actor. In fact all he generally has to do is grumble and hit things a lot. But there is just no denying that the man has a hell of a lot of charisma, in this film he truly gets to display his acting skills. Of course on occasion he delivers a dodgy line, but then if you watch some of the smaller scenes with his characters wife you realise how much potential he has. If given the right material I am sure Statham can truly develop as an actor. Saffron Burrows is brilliant as the slightly suspicious Martine for the first half, unfortunately after the heist she has little to do and the character never felt fully concluded. Still she does have some great moments in the earlier part of the film. Daniel Mays runs off with the majority of the movie as Dave, in fact this looks set to launch Mays career a bit further, he has the best lines and is a funny character. Richard Lintern (who I have to confess I thought was Dougray Scott for half the film) is brilliant as the man behind the heist, in some way that is, and his character is one of the most rounded. Peter De Jersey as Michael X is menacing in his all too brief screen time, but like Martine his character never felt fully dealt with. Still he and the other chief villain, David Suchet, are quite menacing.

The Bank Job when advertised does come across as a typical gangster flick with a lot of humour in it. However when watching it I have to be honest and say it isn't that funny. There are a couple of lines here and there but the movie doesn't really make you laugh that much. Neither is it that big of a gangster flick, of course there are the local gangster running around, and the movie becomes more along that line towards the end. But for the majority of the film it comes across as a slightly grittier and far less flashy Ocean's Eleven. The scenes where they try to rob the bank are definitely some of the highlights, however its the final 45 minutes that stick firmly in mind. What happens after the robbery is just thrilling to watch, will they get away with it, won't they? Things also get a lot darker near the end, also quite violent one scene, or the idea of what was going to happen, made me wince a bit. The film is superbly directed as well, its not too flashy but there are some great shots in there. Unfortunately the music does start to irritate after a while, everything seems overdone, a scene which is meant to be funny is ruined because the music sounds like its from an action movie, it just doesn't truly suit the film all the time. Also as previously mentioned the beginning as well is quite boring.

Overall The Bank Job is a great movie that with a bit of fine tuning at the beginning could make it even better. If you want a smart thriller that will surprise you because of it being based on real events that I highly recommend this. Don't expect an all time classic though.
160 out of 212 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The Best Heist Movie In Years
Harbinger709 March 2008
I expected this movie to be somewhat entertaining, and maybe a bit cheesy. After all, it's not difficult to muck up a heist movie. However, this film gets it all right. The acting is top notch, the story is not only engaging and clever but TRUE (!), and the experience of seeing it is thoroughly enjoyable.

The only complaints I have of the film are that the characters do get a little cheeky from time to time (but hey, they're British, so it's kind of expected), and there's a couple flashbacks/lapses in time that are initially confusing - although everything is clearly laid out about halfway through. Want to see a good movie? Check this one out!
153 out of 210 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
zorro2a26 February 2008
I'm old enough to remember this robbery well, and the film does a great credit to a very true story, Jason Statham is Terry a very small time hood with a car lot (like Arthur Daly) who get lured into this bank Job by one time girl friend Martine (Safron Burrows-who l saw in Enigma) she is very beautiful, along with some mates they do the robbery, masterminded by Peter Bowels, a long way from his smooth Richard De Vere days in To The Manor Born, mind you he's still smoothie in this film, also along for the ride is David Suchet as a London Porn King, and Georgia Taylor one of the Battersby girls from Coronation Street. The film moves at a hell of a pace, and slowly builds to a great climax, l don't want to give away any of the plot all l can say is go and see this film, l admit l went to a pre-release night, but l might even go and see it again it's that good, l give it 9 out of 10
99 out of 136 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Above Average Caper Flick
ericjams17 March 2008
As caper flicks go, all I really hope for is something that succeeds in being both novel and entertaining. My hopes were satisfied by The Bank Job. The plot itself is based very loosely on events that occurred in the 1970s in London. The royal family has some dark secrets. An outspoken activist/petty criminal/drug importer has evidence of these secrets, which he uses as leverage against the government who desperately wants to prosecute him. This evidence is stored in a safety deposit box within a London bank. British Intelligence conjures up a rather reckless plan of employing a bunch of two-bit/amateur criminals to break into the vault, and take the evidence along with whatever else they can carry out. Apart from one intermediary, none of the robbers know the government's secret agenda. Of course, things get complicated whenever the possibility that a bunch of dirty secrets are in the wrong hands, and eventually the movie juggles several interconnecting plot lines, all related to the contents of the vault and their implication on various interests from the royal family, to corrupt police, to the sexual indiscretions of parliament members.

The movie keeps a good pace and never takes itself too seriously. It builds up the plot lines and tries somewhat successfully to tie everything together. There is some good tension, a bit of violence (not much), and eventually, vindication for most of the parties.

The problems with the movie are numerous, but nothing that ultimately destroys the fun. Yes the movie is rife with inexplicably, unnecessary side characters (see female undercover agent in the Caribbean). Yes the movie's dialogue veers into indecipherable 1970s British slang, which gives a comedic undertone to conversations that are intended to be serious. Yes there exist rampant plot issues that make you wonder how stupid cops really are. And yes the acting is OK, at best, lets face it Jason Stracham is meant for British caper movies the way Keanu Reeves is meant to play a clueless surfer cop in Point Break - so while he's not winning any Academies, he fits these rolls just fine.

You could wait for the DVD, or if you are looking for a fun way to kill 2 hours, you should go to the theater for this one.
64 out of 86 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A very good British Film
jkeggen14 February 2008
I also saw this film at an advance screening. I don't normally watch any of the trailers before going, so tend to go in with an open mind. I was very pleasantly surprised, and while it perhaps won't win any Oscars, I thought it was well acted in the main with some faces you'll recognise. It might not have massive appeal outside the UK, however it is a good (based on fact) story. I'm not a massive fan of 70's music, but it wouldn't have done any harm to have a bit more in the background just to give it more of a seventies feel about it. The general mood of the film was good and for me seemed to set the scene well, without going overboard with sex or violence. On the whole, it's well worth a visit, even if you have never lived in that era.
93 out of 132 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Truly a great heist movie, the Brits really can act.
Deveousdevil24 April 2008
This will be one of the best heist movie's you see in years. This movie is full of intense action and great wit. You will literally be at the edge of your seat up to the last minute, wondering if someone is either going to get killed or is someone going to get away. It is full of realistic drama, action, ultimatums, conspiracy and lust. At times it gets kind of scary and your heart will beat faster simply from the music. It is based on true story with a few additions of its own. The movie is put together absolutely perfectly.

The movie is neither too long to the point it bores you and kills the story nor too short to where you don't know the outcome. Everything in the movie is timed perfectly and is played step by step. Everything makes sense which although eliminates some surprises, those surprises are hardly needed and are so obsolete that you won't even care nor realize.

Overall the movie is "jolly good". British actors are really much better than American ones. All the emotions seem real and at a few points you'll feel just like the characters, which is great in any movie because it simply makes it more real. One more thing, this movie isn't for the faint of heart, there are a few scenes that are very graphic and gruesome, and a few scenes that should be in a rated "X" movie. Of course this doesn't do anything to the movie except add even more realism too it. This is just extra knowledge for those who may feel uncomfortable or squeamish in such scenes. Otherwise, this movie is a must to watch because it may very well be a classic.
16 out of 22 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Burrowing underground
Chris Knipp20 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
In this serviceable but not extraordinary film based on real events and set in 1971 London, a group of amateurs pull off a bank robbery that goes wrong in a lot of interesting ways. Prompted by an ex-model former girlfriend named Martine (Saffron Burrows), Terry (Jason Statham) recruits a group of friends to tunnel into the safety deposit vault of a Lloyd's Bank on Baker Street. The alarms at this particular branch are temporarily off for adjustment of a new system, just as Martine told Terry they would be. The metal drawers hold millions in jewelry and cash. Things seem pretty dicey more than once during the ambitious robbery, but the crew does succeed in taking away the loot.

It's not the robbery that matters, though, but the complications arising from the fact that in the drawers besides money and diamonds there are a lot of dirty secrets (the phrase "Pandora's box" is even used). The madam of a fancy brothel has stashed photos of high level gents and ladies doing all sorts of naughty things at her establishment. Another box contains records of a Soho porn czar's payoffs to a corrupt police officer. And still another has scandalous snapshots belonging to the sleazy slumlord and fake black radical, Michael X (Peter De Jersey), kept to blackmail the government. These include photos of an adulterous royal, Princess Margaret, and it's the need to conceal her scallywaggery that's prompted a boss at MI5 named Everett (Richard Lintern), who's been dating Martine, to set off the whole caper, calling on her because she's said she knows some "villains." She must comply, because he's gotten her off a drug-running charge.

The Bank Job has a retro feel; unfortunately a mid-level director like Donaldson can't really compete with the best of the old heist flicks this one resembles in its more mechanical aspects. For instance, a foreign expert is brought in, and he gives a demonstration in a basement, much like Cesar le Milanais in Jules Dassin's Rififi--but the memory is devastating, because this movie is nowhere near as fresh and suspenseful and atmospheric as that Fifties gem. Of course this isn't meant to be taken quite that seriously--though it isn't meant to be farce either; it's too involved in its reinvention of real events for that. There's a successful effort to make the accents and lingo authentic, and the grungy images achieved by cinematographer Michael Coulter and intrusive music (by various hands) sort of evoke the Seventies. Unfortunately in all the complicated stuff that happens, this movie forgets what it wants its tone to be. Sometimes it's light and funny, sometimes it's just factual and hurried, and when the cohorts get tortured by the nasties, it's pretty grim.

The subplots of the parliamentarians and the MI5, crooked cops and porn dealer Vogel (David Suchet), Terry's straight family life with two girls and wife Wendy (Keeley Hawes), at times seem overly complicated, but the movie would collapse without them, and film editor John Gilbert deserves credit for keeping things energetic and flowing by shifting scenes in ways that make this machine seem to be running on all four cylinders. The writing of Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, an experienced pair with some admirable credits, can't be faulted from page to page; but they're trying to weave in too much material. There's another subplot of a ham radio operator who by chance intercepts the robbers' walkie-talkie communications between Terry and his rooftop lookout Eddie (Michael Jibson). All things considered it's surprising all this stuff flows as well as it does. Lively English acting helps here to make the various groups of characters, especially Terry's team, not hard to keep track of. Jason Statham stands out, with his big face, short hair, and perpetual three-day's growth of beard. That may not be a very Seventies look (and indeed the Seventies are sometimes forgotten in the film), but he has an intensity that makes his character feel stronger and more authentic than even the most able of the other cast members; it's his film, and that's another thing that helps save The Bank Job from becoming totally mediocre. It has a strong center.

The ham radio interception gave the robbery its press name, "the walkie-talkie bank job." The police still couldn't pinpoint which bank the voices were coming from, but they broadcast tapes of them on commercial radio the next day seeking identifications. The job was done on Sunday, and Monday morning of course Lloyd's employees find out which bank was robbed soon enough. Several of the robbers come to grief when captured by the crooked cop and his porn associate, but four days after the robbery the government issues a a D notice, forbidding any further press coverage in the interests of national security, and the other fledgling thieves slip away, with mutual wink-winks and a turnover of all the incriminating materials to authorities. A majority of the box holders did not report their losses, end titles say, so by implication they were all up to skulduggery; even the money was largely dirty. Oh, those naughty Seventies.
13 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The way these movies should be made but aren't.
diane-3416 August 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Diane and I watched this marvelous movie several days ago on the recommendation of a friend and we were far from disappointed; the movie was a cracker and we both indulged ourselves in a crime movie with out the accompanying Hollywood histrionics of car chases, crashes, fistfights and assorted bloody mayhem to entertain the folks in the Heartlands.Because the story was true and the details of the case even 37 years after the fact are still officially masked, the whole viewing experience is extremely powerful. The movie is of course plot-driven and what a plot it is. It must be hugely difficult for the actors in such a movie because they know, regardless of how well they conduct their acting tasks, the audience will be absorbed in the script and the"what happens next syndrome." However, all the actors in hindsight, did not interject one (at least for me) discernible misstep in their collective performances.The sum total is a movie of sublime excellence that only the British seem to be able to carry off so well. It is in this respect an old fashioned movie, meant only in superlative terms. It is a movie to be savoured in all respects.
10 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The Bank Job is a very interesting and energetic movie.
nando19544 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I had a lucky opportunity to see "The Bank Job" at a special evening advance preview screening somewhere in the wonderful U.S.A., and I have to write that I think it is a very interesting and energetic movie. I am a fan of Jason Statham and I think this is the best work he's done on film, even better than "The Transporter." Usually Statham plays a bad guy or a guy with a bad streak, and this time is no exception. But I really got a sense of how determined Statham's character was to protect his family from the fallout from the legendary bank robbery. I also really like the incredible 1970s feel of the film - it was as if it had been made in the early 1970s, what with the great rock music, the depiction of the swinging sex scene in London, the perfect costumes, and just the general overall style of the movie's look. I also loved the pacing of the movie, which was quick and up-tempo. Things moved along really well. I also liked the movie's different plot elements and its understanding of how money can corrupt everyone, even the upper crust, and how a scandal must be dealt with to avoid shock to England's Royal family. The movie is fun to watch and I enjoyed it thoroughly. It's definitely well-worth seeing. I don't know what movie the person who commented about the tunneling saw, but there was hardly that much tunneling - maybe a few quick scenes to establish things. They were in and out of the tunnel quickly. I never felt that the tunneling went on and on. And the pacing of the movie is so good that nothing drags or seems overdone. Statham's character reacted perfectly to everything that went on around him. This is a darn good movie, with good action and excellent acting. Saffron Burrows is very good and alluring and David Suchet really played the sleazy porno king very well. I would recommend this movie to fans of Statham, Burrows, and Suchet, to people who like caper movies, to people who like looking at London, and to people who enjoy the buzz that existed in the 1970s.
12 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Enjoyable, if a little thin on the ground on looks and feeling.
MAXMILLAIN26 February 2008
Saw an advance screening of this 'True' British crime story last night. True is in inverted commas as apparently the basic facts are true but of course most of the story comes from the minds of the two writers that penned it.

Its an enjoyable film, good story, production wise nothing special; could be a made for TV movie, there wasn't much action surprisingly and the jokes were thin on the ground; a snatch copy it 'aint.

Good performance from Jason Stratham in his best screwed up, looking menacing while surprised face. Good supporting cast with many faces you will recognise (spot the Eastender) apart from a terrible performance from Stephen Campbell Moore who looked like he was on a comedy show. Thought it could have maybe done with a bit more music from the 70's, Just to cement home the era a bit more.

I wouldn't bother spending money going to see this at the cinema, unless maybe its Orange Wednesday 2-4-1, more suited to a DVD viewing or wait till it hits Film Four in a year or two.

Enjoyable, better than average British film, but no Oscars coming its way.
46 out of 91 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Let's take a nap in the middle of the bank robbery
jdhb-110 August 2008
OK, I am not a professional movie critic but come on...a true story!!!!

They are tunneling under another store to get underneath the bank and stumble across a tomb. At tomb with a passageway which goes directly under the bank.

OK, I'll play along.

But then they get into the bank and decide to go to sleep. Yeah!!! I am sure with all the adrenaline pumping through them they are going to just fall asleep.

This blows the whole picture!!!! How lame!!!!!

Glad I didn't have to pay to watch this one.
11 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Not quite what it could have been...
ruhi-yaman13 April 2008
Warning: Spoilers
The most dangerous lies are those that are based on kernels of truth. This is why I cringe whenever I see the ominous words 'based on a true story' advertising a film. The Bank Job is the fictionalized story of the walkie-talkie robbery that took place in London in 1971. A small team of Cockney lads, existing on the margins of criminal milieu, successfully robbed the safety box vault of a posh branch of Lloyd's Bank and, on the face of it, got away with most of the proceeds. The film uses some of the facts (the crew was indeed spotted by a ham radio operator, only a handful of safety box owners made any claims) and lots of gossip (the rumour was that one of the safety boxes contained naughty exploits of a royal princess, another implicated a cross-dressing Lord Mountbatten) , then adds some of its own inventions: MI5, or was it MI6, staged the whole operation to recover the pictures and there was also a ledger detailing payoffs to crooked police by a porn king (David Suchet, unfairly looking like the late Ronnie Corbett). Jason Statham, as Terry the leader of the crew, does his Jason Statham act and the rest of the cast turns up to give reliable performances. The whole film works in its contrived and rushed way, but it is much less than what it should have been. The look of the film tries to emulate the 1970s heist flicks but the director (Roger Donaldson) is not sure whether he wants to make a Boulting Brothers style heist romp or a more grungy Brit gangster film. Light-hearted scenes suddenly give way to brutal torture of likable characters, farcical asides lead to serious exchanges. The look of the film, although generally true to the era, sometimes appears sloppy or rushed (underground signs, for example, look distractingly modern).

It is an old-fashioned script with an old-fashioned structure. The use of real names for dead characters, with all the implications on their reputation and on their families, is a nasty element in the film, considering that it is largely based on gossip and innuendo, and it sits uncomfortably with the would-be comedy of bumbling crooks, spooks and coppers.
8 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Don't waste your time
Grant_Price13 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
What truly worthwhile aspects can be taken from a film like The Bank Job? Well, 'Mutton Dagger' for a start. Including that is nothing short of immature genius. Lots and lots of breasts is another. Expert alliteration using the world renowned C word is also significant. Aside from that though, there isn't much, leaving The Bank Job a vacuous and unpleasant experience. Anybody expecting another Lock, Stock or Snatch (as the marketing suggests) will be severely disappointed. Sure, director Roger Donaldson attempts to weave an intricate tapestry of lies, double crosses, witty dialogue and interrelated characters who all conveniently find themselves present at the less than satisfying climax, but he utterly fails. So many poorly executed sub-plots and underdeveloped characters are crammed into the running time that there isn't actually any room for anything else. Like interest. Or continuity. Or drama.

The tepid story is based on an actual 1970s bank robbery which took place in London by a team of small time criminals. Amongst the safety deposit boxes in the bank's vault are a number of photographs depicting a member of the royal family in various promiscuous positions and a ledger containing the names of all the corrupt police officers in the city. Various interest groups do not want these items to fall in the wrong hands and so, with little imagination, try to retrieve them from the group of robbers. That's it. That's the whole story. It's VERY difficult to guess the outcome, like whether the cheeky criminals lead by wide boy Jason Statham will get away with it and live happily ever after or if the compromising ledger will fall into the hands of the only honest policeman in Scotland Yard, but I believe anybody not in a persistent vegetative state could probably work it out. A little more problematic though, is how everything actually all works out. The screenwriters noticed this during filming and helpfully included a couple of lines of dialogue in order to resolve any ambiguity which, to paraphrase, went like this: Bank robber: "How did we get away with not getting arrested by the police for stealing millions of pounds, when they CLEARLY knew it was us, even if we did give them the ledger?" Jason Statham: "I don't know." Excellent. No perplexity here. There is also a side story involving Black civil rights revolutionary Michael X (NOT Malcolm) which seems like it was shoehorned into the film during post production when somebody suddenly realised that the entire cast was white.

It is difficult to recall anything about the cast, which consists mostly of cardboard cut-outs with voice-overs. There were policemen, whom you could tell were policemen because they arrived in twos, stood with their hands in the pockets of their flowing black coats and spoke as though they were doing somebody a favour every time they opened their mouths. The antagonists were easy to discern because they looked menacing and used four word sentences which were almost always dripping with malice/stupidity. Finally the good guys were the ones standing around Jason Statham whenever he was in a scene, unless it was a scene in which he was being menaced by the bad guys. It took really solid acting all round to convey this. It would have been mightily confusing otherwise.

See this film either if you don't like money and like to rid yourself of it in the most boring ways you can think of or if you find it amusing to observe Jason Statham struggling through yet another miscast role: JS: Do I need to look angry or confused here? Director: Well, she's your daughter and you're giving her a present. JS: So...angry then? D: No, I'm kind of looking for loving and happy. JS (pulling a face): You mean like this? D: Well...that's more like confusion, don't you think? JS: I...can't tell.
18 out of 36 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The real star of this movie is the storyline.
ZebraGreg8 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Britain's MI-5 stages a robbery of London bank to steal back blackmail photos of Princess Margaret. MI-5 gets hooked up with Martine Love and Terry Leather, played by Saffron Burrows and Jason Statham, who are struggling at the margin between the criminal world and the ordinary world. In time, real gangsters, the Police and MI-5 are all chasing Terry's gang and roughing up each other.

The movie is a grand bit of story telling. It is a great cops and robber story with lots if credible twists and turns. This is refreshing because we have all seen too many Hollywood crime pictures that are just too comical and science-fiction like Mission Impossible or Oceans 11+. It's entertaining, and would have been without its irrelevant nudity.

This movie is not providing social commentary, or teaching us about history: it is just a fun story that is told well. Kudos to the writers, Clement and La Frendais. The performances are believable especially Jason Statham and Saffron Burrows --although the action oriented story does not test their range. The real star of this movie is the storyline.
11 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
jemps91822 July 2008
Having been weaned on The Italian Job, Thomas Crown Affair and the Ocean's 11 series, The Bank Job is glaringly lacking. Set in the 70s and based on a true story of an extraordinary bank heist, it would be understandable if snazzy gizmos and high-tech effects are absent, but the execution could use a lot of help.

Martine (Saffron Burrows) is an ex-model who hires her ex Terry (Jason Statham) to rob a bank. Despite having already turned over a new leaf complete with a wife and kid, Terry accepts. He and his team push through with their plan, only they uncover not just material wealth but blackmail-worthy bits of damning evidence as well.

There is no charisma between the main characters, between the purported exes and within the thieving team. None of them are even likable so it's a stretch to get the audience to root for them. The end result is dry, when opportunities for a bit more cleverness and wit were rife.
10 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Slight error early in the film.
stephen-batty12 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
The film lives up to the posters on the underground a little sex, plenty of violence but it feels very true to the 70's, as I can remember the 1970's in London.

The plot is interesting, funny in places and raises a lot of questions to which, we are very unlikely to get answers to in my lifetime! Can a government really behave in this fashion? My guess would be yes it can, as I am sure a lot of things happen of which, we are blissfully unaware! For those who remember "The Sweeny" on TV, I found the style quite similar.

It is a good film but as it is a "British" film, you think they would know that Pinky and Perky were puppets and not cartoon pigs!
9 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
If you like action films that are actually boring, still don't see this movie
pamelakilroy7 April 2008
Warning: Spoilers
2 is a generous score for this film, as it really has no redeeming value whatsoever. There are so many things wrong with "The Bank Job" it's hard to know where to start. The most glaring flaw is probably with the editing, which was incredibly disjointed and abrupt. It's possible this was part of an effort to artificially create a hectic action-film style pacing, but many of the scenes were slow, boring, and unnecessary, so that really doesn't qualify as an excuse. My friend K.J. joked it seemed like someone had taken the film print and chopped at it haphazardly then marked it final cut.

The editing also contributed to the other enormous flaw with this film: its confusion over its own identity. It is advertised as being based on a true story, but it is filmed like a typical Hollywood action-heist film complete with the cheesy musical score and every cliché in the book. Thus, the weight of the events never hits home with the audience, and when characters are brutally tortured and/or murdered, there is little to no emotion by either the characters or the audience. On reflection this is actually quite disturbing and irresponsible film-making, and probably the result of trying to fit all the elements of a very interesting story into the framework of a fast-paced action film. The result is that the plot is sloppy and forgettable, while the action is boring and unsatisfying.

The movie is best summed up by the scene in which a shot of one of the dead characters leads to an extended close-up of the peace emblem on the bracelet of the dead character. The shot seems to bring up themes of peace and tragedy in a film that has spent literally zero time developing either of those themes. It is instead implying the message, "You recognize this symbol and therefore know how you are expected to feel when you see it, but we don't have time to subtly and artfully elicit that emotion, so just think of other better movies and remember this is a TRUE STORY."

If you are thinking of seeing this movie because you are interested in the story, do a google search instead. If you are thinking of seeing this movie because you like action-heist movies and have already seen Inside Man, watch Inside Man again. Even the smallest fragment of dialogue you missed while crunching on a Dorrito will have infinitely more value than anything in this witless vapid excuse for a movie.
20 out of 43 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A Great Surprise
claudio_carvalho25 February 2012
In 1971, the criminal Michael X (Peter De Jersey) blackmails the British government with compromising photos of members of the parliament practicing kinky sex with prostitutes. He keeps the photos in a safe deposit box in the Lloyds Bank in the Baker Street.

The ambitious MI-5 Federal Agent Tim Everett (Richard Lintern) plots a bold plan to retrieve the pictures using a heist of the bank. He arrests the former model Martine Love (Saffron Burrows) in the airport trafficking drugs and offers security information to her to facilitate to rob of the bank.In return, he requests the content of the safe box no. 118 that belongs to Michael X.

Martine goes to East London and meets her former lover, the car dealer Terry Leather (Jason Statham) that is married with two daughters but owes money to a dangerous loan shark, and tells him that the bank's alarm will be deactivated during a few days. Terry summons his friends and the team of amateurs succeeds in the heist. However, together with the money, the gang also steels the photos of Michael X; the book with the transactions with dirty cops of the Scotland Yard of the pornographer Lew Vogel (David Suchet); and photos of politicians in the Sonia Bern's brothel. Now different groups organize a manhunt to Terry and his friends with different objectives, where the stolen money is the less important.

"The Bank Job" was the great surprise of this week, with a good story based on true events. I bought this Blu Ray a long time ago but my expectations were very low. However this film is one of the best movies of bank heist that I have ever seen. In the end, the thieves are the most charismatic characters among such corruptors and unethical people. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Efeito Dominó" ("Domino Effect")
7 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Better than Most
bluey7118 March 2008
I recommend this movie.

The movie has a well thought out plot. It moves at a good pace that leaves you interested with the actual events in the film.

The acting was well done. Jason Statham continues to be one of todays most under-appreciated and underrated actors. Yes, he does do some questionable action movies, but when you put him in a role where one actually needs to "act", he never disappoints.

The dialog was "catchy" but still believable. The characters in this movie are believable in their "sinister" ways or their "everyday joe" kind of ways. You really do end up hating certain individuals and loving others. There are so many interesting characters that have an interest in the bank heist that you really do want to know how it all ends.

There was no unnecessary violence just for the sake of violence and yet at points, it felt like an action thriller.

In the end, this is a movie with a great plot, great characters, good dialog and an ending with no holes. AND this movie is missing the Hollywood "over the top" quality that has a tendency to ruin most movies.

Definitely worth seeing.
7 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Engaging, and by no means bad
prbt14 February 2008
I liked the film to start with - bit cheeky, typical London "cops, robbers and gangsters" fare. Then after the heist was done, the tone darkened, uncomfortably so. If it had stayed lighter throughout, I'd have enjoyed it much more.

All the actors were fine (I like the fact that you know what you're getting with Jason Statham - you don't *want* him to come across as 'actorly', you *want* him to play the lovable hard-man), the direction was slick, and the film was never boring. Worth a rental when it comes to DVD.

One last comment: I know it says 'BASED on a true story', but I can't believe more than the bare bones are in any way factual.
16 out of 34 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Heist Films Are Usually Entertaining, And This Is No Exception
ccthemovieman-114 August 2008
Jason Statham is well on his way to becoming typecast. It seems like he's in a ton of these kind of action films lately, although this movie is a bit more subdued and complicated than some of them. At least in this heist flick, there are several twists and turns and you have to stay alert to follow who is exactly on the up-and-up and who isn't, and Statham isn't punching out 10 people at once.

This is another one of these modern-day films in which the crooks, the thieves, the bandits - whatever - are the "good guys" and the police and the government officials are the bad guys. This seems to be a big favorite of the anti-authority filmmakers world in the last 40 years whether it's in Hollywood or London. Regardless, it's a very entertaining film and Statham and company are fun to watch. That's also nothing new as the tough "Transporter" star has become a regular at playing these kind of nice guy/macho/thug roles.

Statham plays "Terry Leather," a man recruited by a former hottie/model girlfriend "Martine Love," (Saffron Burrows) to rob a bank. Statham is a family man but desperate for money and, obviously, not very honest. Thousands of pounds/dollars is in it for the thieves but valuable compromising sex photos are the real goal of the people who want the bank depository drawers robbed. Those want to be grabbed before the owner uses them and ruins some high uppity-ups in British government. Several people wants photos for other reasons. This whole thing isn't simple; there are number of sub-plots along the way regarding who wants what in the bank and for what reasons.

There is also a story involving a Malcolm X-wannabe kind of creep who is into extortion and murder. Actually, everyone is pretty much a creep in this film, just to varying degrees. They are all interesting, too, and several of the minor characters have a good sense of humor, too. In particular, I liked Daniel Mays as "Dave Shilling." Add some very tense robbery scenes, some sex early on, some double-crosses later and you have a very serious Keystone Cops type story where you're never quite sure what crazy thing is going to happen next.

A fun two hours of diversion, supposedly based on a true-life account, but knowing filmmakers I suspect much of this is made up for dramatic purposes. That's okay, we just watch to be entertained, and this is entertaining.
6 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed