The Bank Job
You’ve probably not heard of 1971’s Baker Street bank robbery, and with good reason; a government D-notice was used to black out all media coverage. The cover-up was to protect the identity of a member of the royal family, compromising pictures of whom were amongst the valuables in the safety deposit boxes stolen.
This juicy-sounding true story is the jumping-off point for Roger Cocktail Donaldson’s low-key thriller The Bank Job. Jason The Transporter Stratham dons stylish 70s threads to play used-car dealer Terry, whose clean getaway is impeded by Jamaican drug-lords, seedy pornographer Lew Vogel (David Suchet) and the British establishment in the form of government lackey Miles Urquhart (Peter Bowles). As with his Kevin Costner vehicles No Way Out and Thirteen Days, New Zealander Donaldson knows how to rack up a sense of tension and claustrophobia, but his tight professionalism is undone by slack scripting from veteran screenwriters Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais (Goal!, Across the Universe) which never rises above cliché.
With Stratham only allowed to indulge in his trademark thick-ear thuggery in the final scene, The Bank Job relies on muddy intrigue to sustain interest, without finding a balance between plotting mandarins and vicious gangland torturing, and the ill-advised throbbing techno soundtrack only accentuates the film’s lack of convincing period detail. Despite the intriguing twist of portraying the criminals as considerably more high-minded and moralistic than their pursuers, Donaldson’s film ultimately plays out as a frustratingly lightweight game of cops and robbers.
General release from Thu 28 Feb.