My second movie of 2008…The Bank Job.

After spending a couple of days straight without leaving the house, watching the snow fall and fall and fall, the wife and I dug ourselves out and went to the movies. I don’t know what we would have done this weekend had it not snowed 15 odd inches, but anytime you cannot leave the house, all you really want to do (after eating a Digiorno Pizza and watching a thousand episodes of Law & Order) is leave the house. The Bank Job served as a worthwhile reason for getting out of the house, and sure beat shoveling the front and back walk and steps…which I did after the movie.

Look, I am predisposed to like a movie like The Bank Job. I like action and intrigue; I like Jason Statham, in all of his movies, his good ones (Lock Stock, Snatch), his guilty pleasures (The Transporters–come on, you like ’em) and his silly/awful flicks (Crank, The Italian Job); I like the idea that we live in a world that things like the government hiring criminals to break into a bank to steal incriminating photos (and other incriminating photos and much, much more) really happens. Elliot Spitzer gives me hope that I do live in that world.

In truth, we cannot know what in The Bank Job is real. We do know that the robbery happened, so I am willing to go along for the ride that the writers have created, especially since the film was crafted and acted in such a minimalist fashion (for this type of film–we are not talking Gus Van Sant or Wim Winders) that it makes the more outlandish elements of the conspiracy seem plausible. Besides, in politics, the more absurd something seems, the more possible it is. 

This film offers a good opportunity to show you more about my grading scale. Some films, most films, are not aiming for a 100 on my scale. They want to be entertaining, time diverting, funny, action-packed, ironic, sneaky, whatever, but they do not wish to rise to level of transcendence (I was thinking about what word to use here, high art, etc., and they all come off snobby–so be it), where the world we live in creates art and art changes that world, or at least the way we see that world. This is why I love Dr. Strangelove. It does happen that a film that sets out to be one of those adjectives listed above is so good that it rises beyond itself, but it is very rare (for me, Once, is such a film). The Bank Job does not extend beyond its adjectives, but it is good. I would say that The Bank Job, done perfectly, would be able to garner a grade of 85. The actual movie is not perfect–I would have preferred if it was shot more in the style of the era of the film, the 70s, maybe like The Day of the Jackal, and there are a few unneccesary scenes, mostly involving death, that attempt to make the film darker than it really is or wants to be–but it is pretty close.

My grade is…75

Take it easy.