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Another film about corporate power and greed, "The Bank" puts a slightly different spin on the subject. Set in Melbourne, a young Ph.D. mathematician named Jim Doyle (David Wenham) uses fractal theory, similar to chaos theory, to predict changes in stock markets. A ruthless, unethical CEO named Simon O'Reilly (Anthony LaPaglia) hires Doyle to employ his equations to benefit Simon's bank which, in a separate development, tries to swindle a working class couple out of their belongings. "The Bank", obviously, does not portray financial institutions favorably.
The tone here is cold and technical, with dialogue that includes lots of techno-babble. And there are some potent lines, like when Simon spews out his politics to Jim's girlfriend. "We (the banks) can react against any government until they do exactly what it is we want them to do ... We have now entered the age of corporate feudalism ..."; the girlfriend responds angrily: "What do you call yourselves, bastards without borders?"
Indeed, the story takes Oliver Stone's "Wall Street" a step further. Whereas Gordon Gekko's mantra was personal greed, Simon's goal is nothing less than global domination, a world run by ruthless banking executives.
The film's plot is not altogether clear when first viewed, as a result of flashbacks. And some plot points are left unexplained, perhaps intentionally. Also, I must say that the story, in its totality, is somewhat implausible. But there's plenty of tension as we approach the climax, partly as a result of the film's splendid graphics.
And those graphics, in the form of line schematics, are the portal from which we descend into fractal theory, a veritable black hole for some of the characters. A couple of subtle references to Hal9000 solidify a black box future, amplified by color cinematography that is dark and menacing.
We've seen this overall concept before, in other films. It's hardly original. And the characters are not really sympathetic. Still, "The Bank" is technically well made. For most viewers, Simon's motivations are chilling. They remind us of what can happen when big, powerful institutions are given unlimited control.
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