Feature

The Bank Job

The Bank Job

The Bank JobDirected by Roger Donaldson (R)

A bank heist is shrouded in royal scandal and mystery.

***

The Bank Job “is no better than its generic title,” said Jim Emerson in the Chicago Sun-Times. Loosely based on London’s infamous “walkie-talkie” bank robbery, this movie theorizes what actually happened on that day in 1971—when the heist became a big story only to mysteriously disappear from the headlines days later. Given the intriguing premise, director Roger Donaldson carried out a “pretty routine job.” Writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais resort to incorporating every scandalous twist they can think of—spies, prostitutes, payoffs, murder, blackmail, and the like—to stir up the plot. Actually it’s an “almost ridiculous series of fortuitous mishaps” that gives the film its distinctiveness, said Kevin Crust in the Los Angeles Times. Donaldson constructs a complex narrative that keeps the tension building and the fun coming as “nearly every genre convention unravels in one clever way or another.” At its heart, though, The Bank Job is an old-fashioned, “tight-knit crime thriller,” said David Denby in The New Yorker. Instead of depending on violence and technical high jinks, Donaldson keeps us happily perplexed with a “terrifically complicated” story line.

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