The Bank Job is notable for being an at least partly “true” exposÃ© into the spectacular (and successful) robbery of Lloyds Bank in London in 1971. For whatever reason, an anonymous participant of the investigation chose to cooperate in the making of this fictionalized film rather than a book or magazine article. If even partly true, this exposÃ© would have held more weight as, say, a Vanity Fair article than a fictionalized theatrical film.
The far-reaching conspiracy story fingers the royal family, parliament, MI-5 & 6, the police, and even contemporary black power figure Michael X in a massive cover-up successfully withheld from the public for over 35 years. After being portrayed less than flatteringly in the 2006 film The Queen, the royal family is now surely even less amused with The Bank Job’s allegations against Princess Margaret.
With its clever nonlinear structure, gruff alpha-male anti-hero (Jason Statham), and untrustworthy femme fatale (Saffron Burrows), The Bank Job seems at first a solid entry into the heist genre in the tradition of Rififi, Thief, and The Italian Job. But the tone shifts as the stakes rise, to a more serious and violent don’t-trust-anyone thriller a la the Bourne trilogy.