The Bank Job
Watched The Bank Job and it was ok. It wasn’t really good, but it wasn’t bad either. I think part of my problem with the movie is that this is the most 2008 that 1971 has ever looked. A few guys with mutton chops half glued to their faces does not a historical piece make. Seriously, the sideburns were falling off the actor’s faces in a few places.
Part of the problem may be how big a stiffy movies have had for the 70s in the last 15 years or so. Most the movies from England, particularly crime movies, make it seem like 1980 just never happened. So as a result, the movie London of 2008 already looks a little like 1975, and as a result, 1971 looks a hell of a lot like 2008 anyway. OR! They just weren’t very good a making that time come alive for me.
Also Saffron Burrows has a face that… well it distracted me because cologne lips and botoxed face are not an improvement. Not only was it sort of horrifying to contemplate that she did that to herself on purpose, but I was sitting there thinking “But Botox wasn’t being used like that in 1971” and other such things because her face was such a distraction. I normally wouldn’t draw attention like this, but this face simply couldn’t have existed in 1971 and I found it very distracting. A paper bag with a crude drawn on face could have performed the part as convincingly, and if that bag had a cheeseburger in it, it would weigh more than her and would be sexier, but we’ll leave that to one side.
The writing is just… awful. So many of the lines are trite that you wonder if there was some kind of scorecard handed out to the audience so they could mark off every time an old line would get thrown out by one of the actors. I felt like shouting “BINGO!” when Jason Statham told his wife “Don’t ask me what I’m doing so I won’t have to lie to you” as I felt my board was pretty much full at that point. There is nothing here that hasn’t been done before and been done better. Besides a few points, none of which are all that surprising, this is merely a collection of clichés strung together.
Other than those gripes, it’s not terrible. It works on more of a slow burn than the ads and DVD packaging would make you believe. There isn’t any big chase or fight scenes or anything like that in the movie. It’s a heist movie where they do the job, get the loot, everything goes wrong and they try to make it go right or die trying. The problem is that for something based on history, it plays sort of fast and loose with some of the facts.
I’ll add finally that the movie suffers a blow to it’s credibility in the first 30 seconds* by having tits flashed right away and then turning that into a 3-way before two minutes have passed. I’m not a prude by any measure, but when you throw naked girls and implied girl/girl cunnilingus before five minutes have passed I do tend to roll my eyes and say “Oh, it’s going to be THAT kind of movie is it?” and give it a bad mark right away for trying to pander to my lower instincts. The problem is that it’s not actually that sort of movie at all. It’s actually an important plot point, and it’s the only time you see that level of sexuality (although there are more naked girls than I’ve seen in a legitimate film in quite some time) but it feel gratuitous coming in as early as it does.
That might sound like nit-picking, but it really hurt the credibility of the movie for me and it did it in a hurry. It was sold as a low-budget actioner with Jason Statham, and throwing a naked girl on screen then engaging in girl on girl action in the first two minutes is an old trick to try and get guys to stay for the whole movie. The idea being they’ll stick around in the hopes of more tits or more girl on girl action. The best (or worst depending on your view) of this I can think of is Romeo Must Die where two girls dance on the dance floor, a breast is exposed and they have one quick kiss… and then nothing even remotely like that ever happens again in the whole movie.
All that said, it wasn’t a terrible movie, and in fact on a second viewing it may improve. However, I doubt this will ever be anything in my mind beyond a serviceable heist movie. It is serviceable though, just not much more beyond that. Some of the performances are actually pretty good, considering what they’ve been given to work with, but some of the performances are bland and some are painfully bad. As a result, I ended up not caring more about most the characters. It’s not really bad, it just left me feeling it could have been better. It is competent though and I did like it, I just can’t get excited about it now. I’ll watch it again some time, but not right now. It wouldn’t bring shame to the family if you played it between The Asphalt Jungle and Heist in a Robbery Movie Marathon.
Otherwise, get it from Netflix, watch it once, send it back, and get on with your life.
*30 seconds into the movie that is. It takes nearly a minute just to get through the logos of the four production companies that made this before a frame of the actual film is seen.
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