How many heist movies have been made in the past 100 years? Probably not as many as hit man movies or serial killer movies, but nevertheless quite a few. Happily, there's always room for one more, if it's a good one, and Roger Donaldson's The Bank Job is indeed a good one. Moreover, I'd venture to say that it deserves to be called a crackerjack heist movie. Donaldson is about as far from a cinematic auteur as a director can get -- his disparate credits include The Bounty (1984), Cocktail (1988), Species (1995), Thirteen Days (2000), The Recruit (2003) and The World's Fastest Indian (2005) -- but that's where thirty years of experience and skill come in. The Bank Job takes a fairly complex story with multiple players on multiple sides, and presents it cleanly, briskly and excitingly.
Jason Statham leads the huge cast as Terry, a small time London hustler deep in debt, married with kids, and running a crooked auto shop -- just till he gets back on his feet. It's 1971 and an old friend, Martine Love (Saffron Burrows), who has been working as a model, shows up with a proposition. She is dating a secret agent who told her about a bank; the nearby tube trains have been setting off the alarms, so they're being replaced, and the bank will be without alarms for a time. Plus, if they hit the safe deposit boxes, there will be no way to trace the crime, based on the theory that most people won't want to disclose what it was they wanted to keep safe. Terry rounds up a couple of his mates and launches his scheme. They rent a storefront a couple of doors down from the bank, tunnel underground and re-surface inside the vault.