‘The Bank Job’ Retro Review

Director: Roger Donaldson

Starring: Jason Statham, Saffron Burrows

Plot: A team of petty crooks take on a job to rob a bank from an old associate, unaware that the British Government set it into motion to recover photos of a member of the royal family in a compromising position from a safe-deposit box.

Review: This movie has Jason Statham. Based on that fact alone you have undoubtedly decided whether or not you will watch it. This is understandable since Statham has made an entire career of playing Jason Statham is a range of very similar movies. Thin but serviceable plots used to link together a series of imaginative action sequences and sarcastic one liners. Since Statham features so prominently in the marketing for this film it’s no wonder that it didn’t find an audience. Punters looking for the standard issue Statham action would be impatiently waiting for an explosion, whilst those who would enjoy this tightly wound thriller passed it by.

If you haven’t seen The Bank Job yet, you may want to remedy this error. Allegedly based on a true story (the facts of how the crime was committed are correct, however the rest is conspiracy), this 1971 set heist thriller offers the best the sub-genre has to offer and then some more. Statham leads up a crew of criminals from different backgrounds, each bringing a different skill-set to the table to pull off a daring robbery which involved tunneling into the bank vault to empty out the safe deposit boxes. The second part of the film brings together the crims, the spies, the corrupt cops, the gangsters and a civil rights activist each trying to lay claim to the incriminating photos.

Statham in the lead gives his usual performance with a little added depth in the form of a love triangle and his investment in his family. The rest of the cast fill out the story well. The shift from the tongue in cheek heist to the brutal confrontations that make up the second part of the film meld together well, creating an escalating narrative that delivers a solid pay-off.

This is a brilliant tale, and the true story is just an fascinating as the conspiracy. Statham is solid in the lead role once you adjust for the fact that he’s not going to leap out of a helicopter any time soon. A cool, slick thriller that deserves to be seen.