The Bank Job (6/10)
by Tony Medley
In 1971 a brazen robbery
occurred at Lloyd’s Bank in the Marleyborne section of London. Millions
of pounds and some scandalous papers were part of the take. News of the
robbery dominated the headlines for four days then disappeared from
sight. People speculated that the Government had issued a “D” Notice (an
official request to news editors not to publish or broadcast items on
specified subjects, for reasons of national security) to squelch the
news and what might be found.
Director Roger Donaldson
and screenwriters Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais created this telling
of the story, much of which is based on speculation, but some on fact.
The bank was robbed, most of the people got away with it, and it
disappeared from the newspapers after four days. Those are the facts.
Whether or not the government issued a “D” Notice because it was
protecting the Royal Family is, apparently, speculation. Admits Clement,
“Obviously, we had no idea about any of the hidden agenda that’s in the
movie, because so many aspects of it have never come to light before.”
The filmmakers say they
changed the names “to protect the guilty,” which is a nice touch.
Donaldson & Co. invented a fictional character, the beautiful Martine
(Saffron Burrows), who is entrapped by Tim Everett (Richard Lintern) to
recruit a team of lowlifes to pull a heist of the bank, the purpose
being to recover some photos held by Michael X (Peter De Jersey), who
becomes the inciting figure in the plot when he threatens to start a
high-level scandal by exposing incriminating evidence stored in his
safety deposit box on Baker Street. Explains co-producer Charles Roven,
“MI5 and MI6 decided to set up a bank job so they could go ahead and
steal this evidence and prosecute this guy. That was the reason for the
whole set up.”
Martine enlists Terry
Leather (Jason Statham, in a role divorced from his usual martial arts
stuff), who in turn rounds up a gang of scruffy pals to pull it off. But
Terry and his crew don't realize the boxes also contain a treasure trove
of dirty secrets - secrets that will thrust them into a deadly web of
corruption and illicit scandal that spans London's criminal underworld,
the highest echelons of the British government, and the Royal Family
itself, as everything goes wrong. Suddenly Terry isn’t just robbing a
bank, he’s being chased by the police, MI5 and MI6, and by porn king Lew
Vogel (David Suchet, TV’s Inspector Poirot, in a nice turn).
Unfortunately, the first
hour drags shamefully as Terry puts together his gang and they drill
into the bank. Only after they make their getaway from the bank does
trouble arise and Terry tries desperately to salvage the situation and
Despite some graphic
violence to mar the film, if you can hang in for the first half, the
last 40 minutes is entertaining.