15 April 2008

THE BANK JOB (Dir. Roger Donaldson, 2008, UK/US) - A film that deserves an audience

Ever since The Transporter films made Jason Statham a household name, he has been searching for a project that would at least provide him with a return to the British gangster terrain so he could prove his credibility as an actor. The Bank Job is reminescent of the 50s Ealing style of film making which was characterised by witty dialogue, compelling characterisation and inventive concepts which were rooted in a familiar working class context that was quintessentially British. Though The Bank Job is quite typical and conventional of the gangster/crime caper genre, it does well to stay clear off all the recent British gangster stereotypes and formulaic plot lines that currently hold no favour with audiences or critics. The saving grace of this film is the political slant which makes it worthwhile entertainment. Roger Donaldson's experience with the thriller genre, having made the under rated Thirteen Days about the Cuban Missile Crisis and the brilliantly suspensful 1980s remake, No Way Out, also with Kevin Costner as a double agent. The problem with directors like Donaldson is that they are rejected outright as auteurs because their body of work shows no real consistency in terms of creativity - Donaldson directed the hit film, Species, in the 90s. Donaldson's interest with political intrigue comes to the foreground in The Bank Job as the script approaches the generic material of a heist through the face of a corrupt British establishment which is represented as monstrously hegemonic in trying to protect the interests of the ruling elite, namely the Monarchy. The film moves too quickly for my tastes and the film could have done with spending more time in the first thirty minutes by providing a far greater insight into the lives of the criminals involved in the heist. This is probably why I found it difficult sympathising with any of the characters as they come across as two dimensional archetypes. The Bank Job is illustrative of superior entertainment but the problem with this film is that it does not have any star names attached to the project which will severly limit it's chances of finding an international audience.

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