The Bank Job (Maple, 2008) D: Roger Donaldson, w/ Jason Statham, Saffron Burrows. Rating: NNNN; DVD package: NNN
As heist flicks go, this one rocks bigtime, with minimum time wasted on the mechanics of crime and maximum creativity poured into making sure that every time you think things couldn’t get worse, they do.
The caper is straightforward: rent a shop, tunnel into the bank two doors down, loot the safe deposit boxes and leave. Ex-model Martine Love (Saffron Burrows) brings the job to ex-boyfriend Terry Leather (Jason Statham), former small-time crook now going relatively straight in London’s East End. Terry gets some mates and in they go.
What we know and Terry doesn’t is that the British spy establishment is behind the whole thing. They want the dirty photos of the Royal Person. Terry gets the photos and more, which unleashes hostility from the spies, honest cops, crooked cops, a black activist and a porn king, all working at cross-purposes.
It’s a complex plot with 70 speaking parts. Director Roger Donaldson does a stellar juggling job that keeps the action clear and the tension high and still manages to make even the smaller roles memorable.
Statham and Burrows are well-matched as the thinking man’s thug and the shopworn femme fatale. The supporting cast is on its A game, notably David Suchet as the porn king and Gerard Horan as an honest cop.
Some of the story is true, according to a too short doc in the extras that expounds on the real robbery and offers tantalizing speculations of conspiracy. More of that would have made up for the average making-of and commentary.
EXTRAS Disc one: Donaldson, Burrows and composer J. Peter Robinson commentary, making-of and true crime docs, deleted and extended scenes with optional commentary. Widescreen. English, French audio, English subtitles. Disc two: digital copy for transfer to other players.