DIRECTOR: Roger Donaldson
NOT A PART OF OUR COLLECTION
May Contain Spoilers!
Will we be adding this to our collection? Maybe
Roger Donaldson has had an interesting career, with a diverse filmography behind him. With films such as Dante’s Peak (1997), Thirteen Days (2001), Species (1996) and the duplicitous Kevin Costner classic No Way Out (1987) to name a few, Donaldson would not have been my first thought for what is by all accounts, a very British grungy crime thriller.
Based on the true but until recently, classified story of the London Baker Street Bank Robbery in 1971, Jason Statham leads the British cast in a film which doesn’t demand that he strips to his waist or fight brutally with everyone he sees. In other words, this is a proper movie with Statham proving jet again that he can act enough to keep his shirt on. Something which Matthew McConaughey should take notice of too.
The plot is interesting, following intriguing and shadowy government figures as they go about their torrid sex lives, beaten with whips and what have you in London’s underworld whist the proprietors are taking pictures to blackmail them with later. All this whilst small time crook, Statham is seduced into the caper by Saffron Burrows.
She is commissioned to pull the job so that she can recover some of these incriminating images whist the rest are simply there to get there cut. It’s the decade and the direction which make this film though, with its understated performances on the most part and grimey mastering, this feels retro and nostalgic without feeling old or dated. The pacing takes its time and takes you through the complex story quite well, though to truly keep up, you need to pay attention throughout, because blink and you’s miss it.
The story isn’t completely true, taking the usual theatrical liberties but you can tell that the basis for the plot is essentially rooted in fact and it is clearly the producers intent to give us a real idea as what was going on here, and it ain’t pretty. Some of the dialogue was a bit ham handed, stating the obvious a few times and it wasn’t the tightest screenplay but it was intriguing enough to keep my interest and has shed light on a little known crime story of the early 1970’s.