The Bank Job. Jacked up faces and Merkins.

The Bank Job might be the first film where Jason Statham plays a realistic character, a person whose relationships don’t involve public sex and time travel. Now, despite that handicap The Bank Job is an entertaining heist film, packed with just about everything. My father saw this opening weekend back in March and left me a voicemail afterwards espousing it’s virtues. To quote, “This movie had everything, naked women, guns, money, fighting, black people, white people.” He is one hundred percent correct, The Bank Job has all these things and more. By more, I mean “merkins”.

The Bank Job professes to be based on a true story, though it more accurately takes a true event whose details are largely unknown and fills in the blanks. Set in early 1970’s London, Jason Statham is Terry, just a normal guy with wife and kids who runs a auto body shop. He’s in debt to some bad people, and jumps at a chance to be involved in bank heist being arranged by former flame Martine (Saffron Burrows). Of course, it’s not just any old heist, it’s actually being secretly backed by the British government, who will use Martine as their inside man to procur some nasty photos of a certain Royal family member that are being used as blackmail by vibrant black revolutionary Michael X.

Things both do and don’t go as planned as the heist progresses, of course. Director Roger Donaldson ably juggles all the players, and manages to maintain a good flow and avoids any confusion in regards to motivations and character involvement. It reminded me of a Guy Ritchie movie with less style and more focus on just telling a good story. This is a rare example of workmanlike direction being a positive thing.

Statham gets some actorly moments, including a scene with his wife where he must attempt to explain away not just his crimes but supposed infidelity as well. Seeing Statham handle this scene without exploding into a torrent of curse words and bloody fists was similar to seeing Keanu Reeves smile in Something’s Got To Give: it’s like a goddamn optical illusion. I don’t want to say he’s got range, but let’s say he has more range than I expected. The rest of the cast nails their roles, though some wear the 70’s garbs better than others. The IMDB clued me in that during a scene in a brothel, most of the nude females had to wear merkins on account to being too shaved, which would have been an anachronism. Donaldson apparently had a lot of trouble with this scene as the merkins kept falling off. Must have been torture, Roger. Speaking of anachronism’s,  Saffron Burrows face.

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That does not look natural. The most hard to swallow aspect of the whole film is the idea that Burrows is some sort of model that men can’t stop lusting after. That’s the face that launched a thousand “You looked different from across the pub” responses, not a lusty rendezvous in a bank vault. Saffron Burrow’s face was at times so distracting that I really wished any of the characters would remark, “Your cheek bones are crazy”, if to only sate my anxiety.

For a Jason Statham movie, The Bank Job moves at a slightly more leisurely pace but still has scenes where a man is tortured, another is kicked repeatedly in the stomach, and a third character is killed with a machete. You were right Dad, this movie did have just about everything.

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One Response to “The Bank Job. Jacked up faces and Merkins.”

  1. McCarty Says:

    Good god!! I didn’t read your review, but did see the above picture of Saffron Burrows. I repeat…good god!!!

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