Posted July 10, 2008 in The Small Screen

The Bank Job is “based on a true story”—the most freeing words in a filmmaker’s repertoire, right alongside “inspired by true events.” Both phrases give a project an air of authenticity while simultaneously allowing writers and directors license to change any details that don’t fit into their pretty Hollywood picture. In this example, the real-life robbery that “inspired” The Bank Job is shrouded in mystery—four people were supposedly convicted but never named—and while the movie sticks close to the known facts of the case, it surrounds them with a conspiracy that can only be speculation although it is presented as fact. Jason Statham (avoiding most of the action-trappings of his Transporter fame) plays Terry Leather, a former low-life trying to go straight, who gets lured into one last job by an old flame (a skeletal Saffron Burrows) and assembles a familiar feeling ragtag group of co-conspirators to help him pull it off. Director Roger Donaldson (No Way Out) proves once again that he can ratchet up tension with the best of them as the film—which starts with a light-hearted Oceans 11 feel—takes a darker turn toward the end. As heist movies go, The Bank Job is pretty enjoyable. It’s only afterward, when you realize you’ve just viewed an hour and a half of guesswork presented as truth, that you realize you’ve been had. (Red Vaughn) 



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