Reviewer's grade: B+
There is a refreshing lack of bells and whistles in "The Bank Job," a heist flick in which even the title rejects cheap wit. This is a meat-and-potatoes thriller that delivers on the genre's roguish sense of fun. Based on the real-life robbery of a London bank in 1971, the film blends fact and speculation for a story that extends from the underworld to the corridors of British royalty. OK, so much of it is likely hooey, but that hardly matters.
Jason Statham stars as Terry Leather, a used-car salesman who assembles a scruffy gang of thieves to tunnel into the vaults of a Lloyd's Bank. The robbers get more than they bargained for when the looted safety deposit boxes turn up incriminating photographs of a royal family member and evidence of police corruption.
Director Roger Donaldson keeps things humming along, and he is aided and abetted by bang-up performances from Statham, Saffron Burrows and David Suchet as a sadistic porn king. R