The time is 1970 and the place is London, England. Michael X, a Malcolm X-like black leader, is coming to prominence, but has both MI-5 and 6 on his tail for illegal activities, primarily drug trafficking, but they can’t do anything about it in courts because of pictures that he has of one of the Royal Family in a sexual indiscretion, held in a safe deposit box in a London bank. One up and coming MI-5 agent puts together a plan using a former model named Martine Love, who’s just been arrested for possession as she’s coming back into the country. Love has her own connections in the city and she goes to a few childhood friends, themselves no strangers to illegal activity to plan the job. These friends, run by a car dealer named Terry Leather, don’t have a clue to Martine’s real reasons, and look at this as the one big score that they’d need to get out of “the life” little suspecting that the bank holds much more than just this set of photos and large amounts of money.
And that’s the opening premise of The Bank Job the newest movie from veteran director Roger Donaldson, and let me say up front, this is really one impressive little film, extremely fast-paced with something different going on all the time. The action leading up to the actual robbery is some very nice set-up, doing a good job at establishing the characters of all involved, and once the robbery does take place, the pace really picks up further, as the secrets behind the robbery not only have mobsters involved, but also local police as well MI-5 and 6, right up to the very top of English government.
But with all that does go on in the film, none of it is confusing in the slightest, and the viewer never has any problem at all following all of the events as they unfold.
Donaldson’s got a very good cast here, led by Jason Statham as Terry Leather and Saffron Burrows as Martine Love, with the rest filled out by what I suspect to be a lot of top British character talent. Statham continues to impress me and his Terry Leather is a very grounded character, you won’t see him pulling off the fantastic moves that he has in some of his other films, here he more demonstrates that he is a good actor in addition to being a great action movie star. For most people, Statham will be the only actor that they really “know,” so it’s going to be really easy to buy what goes on with the rest.
This review is a little late in the game, as The Bank Job opened two weeks ago, the same time 10,000 B.C. opened, and this weekend was a bit of a dead one as far as new releases, so I knew I’d be able to come back and still see this in somewhat of a timely manner. The word on this was good from the start and I know for myself it’s opening weekend was a real toss-up between seeing this and 10,000 B.C. and so I opted for the bigger effects movie which I figured would have the better presentation, little suspecting what a disappointment 10,000 B.C. was going to be, but still better late than never at all (even though this had moved around at the theatre that I saw it in, going from a good room to one of the smaller rooms by the time I did see it). I’d still urge folks to seek this out, as it’s a great example of better heist movies out there, extremely well made and well performed, this one’s a whole lot of fun.