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The Italian Job 1969 April 24, 2009

Posted by Sai in English, Movies, Reviews.
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When I saw the more recent version of The Italian Job (Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron), I enjoyed it quite a bit. When I read the reviews of the film, however, it seemed that many critics found the heist/chase in the original version starring Michael Caine to be better. At that point in time, I had my doubts about that claim but after watching the film, I have to agree that they were more than right!

Written by Troy Kennedy-Martin and directed by Peter Collinson, the original is very different from its successor, not only in terms of content but also in spirit (and location – this one actually happens in Italy). This film is not aiming to get the audience upbeat or excited through fancy gimmicks and heist scenes. In the early stages, I felt like I was watching a project manager plan, strategize and practice for a task with his team. It is actually quite interesting to view a heist from that perspective but by today’s standards this segment isn’t exciting. However, once the team manages to steal the gold, the film steadily gains a charming persona.

The heist and the following chase sequence take up a third of this film and are memorable to watch. This film is worth watching for this part alone and I felt compelled to watch it more than once. Even if you dislike watching old films for whatever reason, I’d still recommend that you watch the last third of this film.

The Bank Job March 10, 2008

Posted by Sai in English, Movies, Reviews.
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There was little buzz about this film before it hit the theatres but if critics are to be believed, this is the only good film to release this weekend when the universally lambasted 10,000 B.C. raked in the big bucks.

The movie is based on an infamous robbery from 1971. Terry (Jason Statham) and his friends are offered a bank job by an old friend who has some inside information. The small time crooks decide to take up the job to rob the safe deposit boxes at Lloyd’s Bank in London. What they don’t know is that these boxes hold some very big secrets including one that is linked to the Royal family and before they know it, they are entangled in a web that threatens their lives.

This isn’t an entertainer like The Italian Job or the Ocean’s movies or a slick, charming enterprise like Guy Ritchie’s Snatch or Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Nonetheless, it is an engaging, well-made caper flick. Director Roger Donaldson (The World’s Fastest Indian, Dante’s Peak) maintains the tension throughout and writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais (who worked together on films like Flushed Away and Goal!) weave together the intricate subplots competently. It would have been quite easy to confuse the audience but credit to the writers, director and the editor, John Gilbert (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Bridge to Terabithia) that this does not happen. Jason Statham is sincere and convincing. He can carry a film on his shoulders but this film carries itself. The large supporting cast filled with British actors (most of whom I haven’t come across) is effective.

It is hard to discuss this film without giving away some of its secrets but the various subplots (apparently based on reality or at least what is known of it) keep you hooked. The robbery itself is a well-executed, tense affair. The intelligently plotted climax comes at you quick and ties up all the ends together but if you blink, you might miss one or two key moments. In between all this, the characters are given some personality and a love triangle finds its place too. There isn’t a lot of humor but you don’t really miss it because the film is paced well and doesn’t let your mind wander. This is well worth a watch.