The Bank Job is the rare heist movie whose heist is the least interesting part. The movie didn’t really hook me until after the set-piece robbery, where a gang of amateur thieves pull off the biggest score in history, thanks to the help of the British secret service.
The secret service is after only a single photo, stored in a safe deposit box, which is being used to blackmail the royal family. However, this photo turns out to be just one of many items in the vault that are being used to blackmail powerful figures — which makes the robbers at one fell swoop the most powerful people in the UK, and the most targeted.
Because it is extrapolated from true facts (“based on a true story” seems too much of a leap, though given Britain’s extreme libel laws, that must mean documented, line for line), The Bank Job is all the more compelling. In 1971 a gang of thieves did really nab £500,000 and the story really did disappear from newspapers a few days later.
What The Bank Job posits happening is not only plausible, it makes for a fun movie.
Be Kind, Rewind is a lovely, simplistic and implausible fantasy. Viewed from one perspective, you could say writer/director Michel Gondry has had diminishing emotional returns in his whimsical features, descending from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind to Science of Sleep to this.
Or you could see it, as I choose to, as a kid’s movie, with kid’s movie logic — and one that happens to reference movies like Robocop with which adults are more familiar. A kid could look past a plot that is full of holes and characters as cardboard as the fake movie props.
Though it is to the movie’s disservice that all the characters are simple-minded, this is not to say there aren’t some fun performances. Mia Farrow, Jack Black and Mos Def especially excel at loose, improvisatory back and forth. Melonie Diaz, playing Alma, is not on par. Not that she is given much of a chance, with her confused character. Is she the ugly chick? No, she’s too pretty. Is she weird? No, she’s the sane one of the bunch. And she’s too young to be an appropriate love interest for Jack Black or Mos Def.
Be Kind, Rewind is probably at the head of a wave of 90’s nostalgia movies which will chronicle the death of VHS at the hands of DVD. I like it less for it’s implausible plot than its flights of fantasy. A definite renter.