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  Publicity Stills of "The Bank Job"
(Courtesy from Festive Films)

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 Taylor
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.

Movie Review:

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.

Speculative 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.

Donaldson’s 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.

Movie Rating:

Review by Justin Deimen

(Easily digestible and exhaustingly entertaining)


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. Cellular (2004)

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. Layer Cake DVD (2004)

. City of God DVD (2002)


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