Secrecy, Blackmail, and Corruption - "The Bank Job" Movie Review

Based on a true story, “The Bank Job” is the story of the 1971 Baker Street bank robbery. When the British government learns that there are incriminating photos and the threat of blackmail keeping them from arresting a drug importer, Michael X, they secretly hire a group of criminals to break into the bank which holds the photos and steal them. There can be nothing tying the criminals to the government, so every action of the government is done with the utmost secrecy.


When Martine Love (Saffron Burrows) is arrested for drug possession, she strikes a deal with Tim, a government official who’s part of the group designed to solve the Michael X problem. The deal is that Martine must help put together a crew to commit the bank heist. She convinces a long-time friend and ex Terry Leather (Jason Statham – “The Transporter”) to help her, and Terry puts together a team. As a group, they rent out the building two doors down from the bank and dig a tunnel underneath the bank to rob the safe deposit boxes held in the vault.


Although they are successful in robbing the bank, the tides turn when they realize that the deal was not as simple as it originally was and they discover just what Martine was sent in to steal. In addition, it turns out that another prominent member of society has a safety deposit box at the same bank and wants his items back as well. Now, Terry, Martine, and their team must find a way to avoid jail and deal with the multiple dangerous people who want the photos and their items back.


Where “The Bank Job” succeeds is in keeping the viewer on the edge of their seat with the complex drama. The story is never simple, and even when the viewer thinks that everything is going well for Terry and his crew, something always happens to shake things up. With themes such as secrecy, blackmail, and corruption, suspicion surrounds each character, leaving the viewer waiting to find out the motivations behind each character’s actions.


The theme of secrets also plays out within Terry’s own crew as well, when the former relationship between Terry and Martine re-emerges, creating a new set of questions. Terry must decide what’s more important to him, the marriage to his wife, or the thrill that comes along with the criminal lifestyle. In addition, Martine’s feelings towards both Terry and Tim leave the viewer wondering who she’s really in the bank heist for, and who will she, if anyone, ultimately betray.


Where “The Bank Job” falls short, however, is that with so much secrecy going on, certain storylines are not described in enough detail and to a point, may not have been needed at all. The best example of this is with the character of Gale Benson. She is a British national attempting to infiltrate Michael X’s organization by sleeping with his friend Malik. Although her character is important to the real life story the movie is based off of, inside of the movie, her character is not developed enough. She is only brought up in conversation twice, once at the beginning of the movie, and once at the end. She is unable to succeed in her goal, yet there a number of scenes portraying her, taking away from the action of Terry and Martine.


Despite that minor hiccup, the rest of the story is neatly told, and the action scenes are nicely intertwined with the dramatic discussion scenes. For Jason Statham, who mostly stars in action-type movies (including movies such as “The Transporter”, “Crank”, and “The Italian Job”), he really gets a chance to do more than just run and fight. The viewer is introduced to his more serious side when you see how he acts around his wife and children. I was happily surprised with the quality of this film and recommend it.


Grade: B

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