Re-watching for Review: The Bank Job

The Bank Job is a neo noir from 2008 directed by Roger Donaldson.  Donaldson has directed quite a few neo noir and crime films over the years, but I feel this is his best to date.  This has Jason Statham as our star, some may only think of Statham as an action star of block busters like Furious 7 and The Expendables films, but he has made a number of smaller budget crime and neo noir films throughout the years.  I find him always entertaining and he seems to pick pretty good projects.  I reviewed Blitz earlier on this site, along with the noir books in which it was based. I also rather enjoyed Wild Card which I reviewed a few days ago.  We also have Saffron Burrows as our femme fatale in this film.  Will Statham leave his family and go with our fatale?

This movie starts with a blurry scene of sex on a beach as somebody takes photos.  We then see Burrows getting busted in the airport for transporting drugs.  Then we find her recruiting her old classmates, who are on the shady side of the law, to do a bank robbery.  They eventually agree and start to put together a plan.  They are going to rob the security boxes instead of the cash.  This is because most people won’t report what they had stolen from the boxes.  The bank job is a tense scene, but goes well.  They find more than they bargained for and they soon have a porn king, the royal family, and MI5 all on their tail.  Will they get away?  Why is everybody after them?  What do they have that is so important?

This is based on the true story of the Princess Margaret sexual scandal from the 1970’s, and the evidence that was stolen in a bank robbery.

I really like the British neo noir films that have came out over the last 20 years and plan to review more of them soon.  These films have something that draws me, maybe it’s the writing, maybe the different culture, maybe it is the accents or maybe they have more original ideas in England for crime stories.  I don’t know what it is exactly, but I do find them entertaining.

I highly recommend this for anybody who likes good film.  Noir, crime or neo noir film lovers will all love it.  Statham fans for sure will love it. If you are not a fan of Statham, give it a chance anyway, it may surprise you.

Review: Victim

Victim (1961)_0

Victim is not a timeless story, in fact if taking place in today’s world it would be almost pointless, and that’s a good thing.  This is a British film, filmed in Black and White with classic film noir shots.  This film would never have been made in Hollywood in 1961.  This is a very interesting film for its time, It raised quite a stir.  This film wasn’t even allowed in the United States at first, then this film was giving an X rating upon release.  To see how times have changed, when this was released in 1986 on VHS it was given a PG-13 rating.  In Britain it currently has a PG/12 rating.  This film has no scene of violence or sexuality to speak of.  This was the first English language film to say the word “homosexual” in it.  At the time this film was made, homosexual activity between two males was illegal.  At this time in the early 1960’s the police had been really lax in enforcing this law.  That did open up the opportunity of blackmailers to take advantage of the law.  Law Enforcement was pretty lax at trying to find these blackmailers as well.  That is the basis for this film.

We start with Barrett, played by Peter McEnery running from the police.  He eventually gets caught and is questioned why he has stolen over 2,000 pounds from his employers.  He is flat broke and the detectives quickly determine that he has been blackmailed.  The whole time he is running, he is trying to get a hold of our hero, the lawyer Melville Farr played by Dirk Bogarde.  We soon find that Farr and Barrett knew each other and may have had a relationship, this is very ambiguous and depending on the editing of the version you see, may be more or less so.  Farr is married to a wife, played by Sylvia Syms, she seems pretty forgiving, especially given the times this film takes place in.  When Farr is brought in by the detectives for questioning we get some harsh news and Farr starts his own investigation to find the blackmailers.  This has some holes in the plot for sure, like if you’re a blackmailer why would you blackmail the young single working class man, instead of the rich lawyer with a wife?

This film may have been one of the things that helped get the laws for gays changed in Britain, which came 6 years later in 1967. In that way this was a very timely and very important film in the early 1960’s and is worth viewing for capturing a pivotal time in human rights.  Outside the politics of this film, we have a decent plot with some twists and turns, a red herring here and there, but not an overly satisfying mystery on its own.