Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Bank Job

The Bank Job was not the movie we intended to see. Diana and I had every intention of seeing Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, because, as you all know by now, I really, really love Amy Adams. At the ticket counter, however, we discover that Miss Pettigrew is not playing. Crap. We scan the list of movies. They all look horrible, except the Bank Job. I have some glimmer of a memory that it was supposed to be good. It has a later starting time, so after we buy tickets, mine at a student rate, and Diana gets her parking validated, we run across to Starbucks for a quick chat. Diana has brought chocolate with her, so we just need beverages. Eating outside chocolate at a Starbucks table feels like a mini-heist, especially after getting two bucks off on my movie ticket. We feel like bandits. We stride back into the movie theater all cocky so, after a quick pee break, we take seats at the front of the second section, to stretch out our legs, like small-time hoods might.

The movie is perfect for our mood. It's clever and British with plot twists and small bursts of violence. There's plenty of T&A and cynicism about humanity. Almost everyone is crooked and slowly converging onto one spot at Paddington Station, landed gentry and Soho porn kings all thrown together in sordid corruption. It's fantastic! Everyone you've ever seen on Masterpiece Theater and Mystery is there calling each other buggers and wankers and ordering chicken and chips. Rumpold of the Bailey commits unspeakable acts, and at a climactic moment a compromised character responds to staggeringly terrible news with a clipped, Oxbridgian "Oh, dear." Heaven!

The performances are earthbound and complex, showing real stuff going on underneath what could be trite stock characters. Motivations are at once both clear and bent, and we see the way hearts are pulled the way they are pulled no matter what we do. It's an underlying theme that rings very true.

That this is based on a true story makes it even more fabulous. It is truly gripping, and I was on the actual edge of my seat several times. Then again, I am a sucker for British quasi-political thrillers. With the historic setting, this really feels like one of those 70's movies like the French Connection, but mixed with witty British skepticism.

Diana and I had a great time. Check it out, if you get the chance.

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