Sunday, March 02, 2008

THE BANK JOB - brilliant story; workmanlike execution

I was a potential millionaire, yet I had to be satisfied with eight pounds, fifteen shillings, less deductions.

True story: in 1976 a bunch of loveable idiots tunnelled into a London bank and nicked three million quid in cash and jewels. They also nicked some tasty pornographic photographs incriminating a member of the royal family and more than a few members of the government. This, naturally, caught the attention of the British secret service, policeman both straight and corrupt, not to mention the porn king of Soho. In fairness though, the rozzers were given a bit of a head start when an amateur radio enthusiast picked up the idiot robbers chatting to each other on their walkie-talkies!

It's a great story. The resulting film, however, is worth a watch but probably not the price of a cinema ticket. It's more the kind of film you watch by chance on Freeview on a boring Tuesday night. Roger Donaldson's direction is competent but unimaginative. The cast are all fine but there are no stand-out performances. (Although I have to say that David Suchet did look eerily like Ronnie Barker.) The production design is fine, but I've seen the seventies re-created more thoroughly on screen. The biggest problem is that the heist takes too long to crank up and grind out. The viewer has more fun watching the bunglers wriggle out of the mess they've made. Frankly, we could've lost twenty minutes off the run-time and it would've been a much snappier, much more exciting film.

THE BANK JOB is on release in the UK. It opens in the USA on March 7th; in Russia on April 3rd; in Finland on July 11th; in the Netherlands on July 31st; and in Belgium on August 6th.

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