Director: Roger Donaldson
Cast: Jason Statham, Saffron Burrows, Stephen
Campbell Moore, Daniel Mays, James Faulkner, Alki David, Michael
Jibson, Richard Lintern, David Suchet, Peter de Jersey, Georgia
RunTime: 1 hr 50 mins
Released By: Festive Films & GV
Rating: R21 (Sexual scenes and coarse language)
Official Website: www.thebankjobmovie.com
Opening Day: 3 July 2008
In September 1971, thieves tunnelled into the vault of a bank
in London’s Baker Street and looted safe deposit boxes
of cash and jewellery worth millions and millions of pounds.
None of it was recovered. Nobody was ever arrested. The robbery
made headlines for a few days and then disappeared - the result
of a UK Government ‘D’ Notice, gagging the press.
This film reveals what was hidden in those boxes. The story
involves murder, corruption and a sex scandal with links to
the Royal Family - a story in which the thieves were the most
innocent people involved.
One of the most famous robberies in the history of London
is turned into one of the sharper heist films of recent years.
Dubbed "The Walkie-Talkie Robbery" in 1971, the
daredevil nature of the crime captured the imaginations of
a nation and spawned generations of conspiracy chasers from
the abrupt discontinuation of its headline reporting by a
supposedly vapid press from a government sanctioned gag order
ominously called a D-notice. Veteran director Roger Donaldson
builds a sturdy, if not exhausting genre piece that charges
ahead like a piston firing from all cylinders, built from
the ground up with Brit writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais'
screenplay in hand and an ensemble led by a dependably masculine
and muscular performance from Jason Statham, back to his gonzo
best since making his name in Guy Ritchie’s heyday with
this genre and in this very city.
fiction fills the holes where numerous urban legends and hushed
rumours resided as it moulds itself into reasonable truth
and irons out the doubts. One of the more popular theories
– a royal scandal – is the film’s premise
du jour, photos of an illicit sexual dalliance featuring Princess
Margaret in a ménage à trois. South London used-car
dealer Terry Leather (Statham) finds himself right smack into
a potential political firestorm when statuesque ex-girlfriend
Martine Love (a wonderfully nuanced Saffron Burrows) shows
up with a purring smile and a tempting proposition to soothe
his financial woes and scratch that criminal itch that has
gone unattended to for years. Staunch family man that he’s
become, Martine’s offer to clean out a bank vault with
his old crew of small-time crooks, is met with proper skepticism.
Unbeknownst to Terry, she reports to ambitious MI-5 agent,
Tim Everett (Richard Lintern) who orchestrates the job in
order to retrieve those pictures of the cavorting royal from
a security box owned by drug dealer and faux-revolutionary
Michael X (Peter De Jersey). What further complicates matters
is the security boxes contain more than just dastardly blackmail
schemes but detailed accounts of illegalities owned by a Soho
porn merchant and crime kingpin who will do anything to get
them back. Phew.
capital triumph here is crafting a straightforward plot so
concise and so cocksure of itself that it approaches a classicism
of the genre. The grungy look of its editing, and a richness
of atmosphere make London feel sinisterly present and tangible,
populated by the lowest of the low. Donaldson deftly builds
each character, each personality and each successive complication
with a singular voice while constantly twirling and juggling
its narrative plates in the air. That the film hits a rambling,
extendedly elaborate conclusion, in which any sort of continuous
logic is minced for tying up loose ends, is easily forgiven
considering the rampaging intensity that the film carries
over from its earlier frames.
by Justin Deimen
(Easily digestible and exhaustingly entertaining)