, 111 min, 2008
Director: Roger Donaldson
Writers: Dick Clement & Ian La Frenais (written by)
Stars: Jason Statham, Saffron Burrows, Stephen Campbell Moore
The Bank Job is a crackerjack heist film, apparently based on a true story. In 1971 London, a group of down on their luck small-time hoodlums were given a proposition – tunnel into a bank vault on Baker Street and they’d get all of the loot. If only it were actually that simple.
The leader of the group is Terry Leather (Jason Statham, never better), a garage owner in debt up to his eyeballs. His team includes people like Kevin Swain (Stephen Campbell Moore, all but recognizable from Stephen Fry’s Bright Young Things) and David Schilling (Daniel Mays from Mike Leigh’s Vera Drake). Enter a former girlfriend of Terry’s, Martine Love (Saffron Burrows, formerly of TV’s Boston Legal) with troubles of her own, and you have a team. What appears to be a simple heist, however, is complicated by corrupt cops, debauchery among royalty as well as politicians, and a radical African leader with a penchant for blackmail.
The cast is admittedly a bit of a mixed-bag, with Statham and Burrows the major standouts and (at times) the only recognizable actors in the bunch. The cinematography by Michael Coulter (Love Actually, Mansfield Park, Notting Hill, Sense & Sensibility) is a bit of a surprise – befitting a heist film (though completely out of his range of expertise), you can see every bead of sweat and scenes are filmed with high energy.
The film has been directed by Roger Donaldson, no stranger to the action/suspense genre (Tomorrow Never Dies, No Way Out) and written by Dick Clement & Ian La Frenais (Across the Universe), as puzzling a screenwriting team as to ever attempt a heist film. Nevertheless, this film is tightly wound, and entertaining at every turn. In the end, it’s a worthy effort.