x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

The Bank Job

A riveting narrative and a brilliant recreation of 1970s London is let down by tediously slow direction.

As the film's original working title, D-Notice, suggests, this story is about much more than a bank robbery. Loosely based on a real 1971 robbery, it sees a group of East End robbers hired by the UK's secret service to steal a safety-deposit box containing compromising photographs of Princess Margaret. However, the daring cockneys end up in a world of pain when they discover among their loot the secrets of half of London's seediest criminals and bent policemen. With a story this stunningly good, The Bank Job should be taking it's place alongside The Long Good Friday, Get Carter and other great British crime capers. But it falls short. With the exception of David Suchet as the Soho sleaze merchant Lew Vogel, a decent performance is hard to find in the film. The leading man Jason Statham's monotone delivery is so stiff it is difficult to feel much empathy for his character or the plight of his family and friends. His performance might cut it in a Guy Ritchie-penned black comedy, but without witty dialogue or a strong supporting cast what is left here is somewhat lifeless. Unfortunately, a riveting narrative and a brilliant recreation of 1970s London is also let down by tediously slow direction, with the pace of a TV drama. An opportunity missed.