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The Bank Job 

The Bank Job refreshes the well-worn formula followed in heist films. One forgets the joy of seeing the form done well. Director Roger Donaldson fashions a piece of genre fiction from a real-life break-in of a London bank’s safe-deposit room in 1971. Donaldson throws his silver-gleam lighting against faces worn by guilt and desperation---Jason Statham, Saffron Burrows, James Faulkner---creating the best-looking screen-caper since Casino Royale. The actors give familiar scenes (tunnelling underneath a chicken restaurant) a fresh spin. The characters are not hardened criminals, so their constant second-guessing keep the film edgy. Terry (Statham) and his crew don’t realize the dual agenda when they agree to bust into a Baker Street bank. As leader of the pack, Statham, the decade’s premiere action star, establishes he can combine his machismo with vulnerability. The reversals and intricacies of the story mirror the exactitude the crooks must use to succeed. The involving thrill of The Bank Job comes from the struggle to keep up with it.

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