The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Lionsgate - 2008
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 110 Minutes
Genre: Crime Drama
Disc Format: BD-25
Encoding: MPEG-4 (AVC)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio Lossless, French Dolby Digital EX 5.1 Surround
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Jason Statham, Saffron Burrows
Directed by: Roger Donaldson
Music by: J. Peter Robinson
Written by: Dick Clement & Ian Frenais
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: July 15, 2008
"Based on a true story "
Terry Leather (Jason Statham) and his dodgy friends aren't London's great criminals. But when they're approached by the beautiful Martine Love (Saffron Burrows) and asked to plunder a local bank's priceless safe deposit vault, the small-time hoods see the job as the chance of a lifetime. But what they don't know about the true purpose of the robbery may kill them as they quickly find themselves embroiled in a scheme involving a Black Power leader, the MI-5, corrupt detectives, a local porn king and even the Royal Family in this pulse-pounding crime drama, based on the greatest heist in British history.
I have to admit that I like Jason Statham as an onscreen persona. His films have not always been the best but you can't discount his cool collective nature and tough guy image. Going into this I had not heard of The Bank Job and knew nothing of its background. The film is based on a true story about a group of small time local hoods who pulls off the robbery of a Bank (Bank of Lloyds) on Baker Street in London in the early 1970's. The job is brought to them by Martine Love a beautiful model who has past connections to several of them. Unbeknownst to them is the fact that Martine has an agenda of her own which involves the contents of safe deposit box # 118. The contents of that box as well as several others that are stolen leads to a large scale search from three different sources in an attempt to regain those contents from the bank robbers. The outcome has serious ramifications for all concerned which is the crux of the story.
I was surprised at how much I liked this film. It had a fairly large cache of characters and the screenplay did an excellent job in establishing them and making them sympathetic and/or believable. Statham did a wonderful in his portrayal of Terry. Terry was far from perfect but his short comings made him who he was which helped the audience understand his motivation. It was refreshing to see Statham without martial arts defining his character but rather his emotions. The story has several layers, some of which were complex that had to be peeled away. Director Roger Donaldson does in fact peel them away but does so with excellent timing and thorough diligence which allows the audience to slowly absorb the stories substance. The ensemble cast was well placed and were all equally responsible for the movies outcome. At 110 minutes I thought the film's pacing was excellent. The fact that the film is based on actual events made it all the more appealing for me.
The rating is for sexual content, nudity, language and violence. This is not one for younger viewers.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
The Bank Job comes to Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 18 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 7.1 channel audio with an average bitrate of 2.6 mbps.
The video presentation was a bit different that I was expecting. Its stylized look did not lend itself to bold use of color which often made it appear less vibrant and eye catching. It didn't use bright colors but rather stuck to more browns, tans, blacks, navy blues and darker reds. Occasional use of light blue, fire engine red and yellows did reveal plenty of deep saturation and vivid highlights. The look of the video appeared to be directly related to an attempt to re-capture early 1970's London. I think that it succeeded in establishing a more reserved and laid back color palette but fleshtones suffered in the translation. Everyone had a flat, colorless, pancake type complexion that lacked tonal variation. It was quite noticeable throughout the course of the film. Resolution was not adversely affected as images had excellent dimensional depth with plenty of visible detail and sharpness. Contrast levels looked great as I was able to see ample detail within whites, and visible gradation in grays. Check out the varying steps of gray visible in the clouds in the background sky as Eddie stands on the rooftop acting as the lookout. Blacks and shadow detail were rendered with aplomb. This is a lower bitrate encoding when compared to most of the Blu-ray Discs I reviewed lately however I saw no evidence of bit starvation or other video related artifacts.
I have to say that I love lossless audio and the DTS-HD Master Audio tracks that I have heard as a whole offer some of the best. The sound mix on this disc sounded superb and is of reference quality. This is not an aggressive sound track but this mix takes all of its inherent elements and delivers them with startling realism. I was impressed with the weight and descriptive representation of the dialogue through the center channel. The entire surround platform was used to create the divergent atmospheres portrayed in the film. The aural environment within the room seemed to come alive at times as it contained a flurry of discrete surround activity that emanated from both the surround and rear surround channels. The front and rear soundstages combined well to create a seamless and enveloping sound field. Bass frequencies contained in the mix didn't reach into the deep sub regions but had extension that was appropriately proportionate to the source material and supported the soundtrack quite well.
The bonus content offers a behind the scenes look at the making of The Bank Job as well as a 14 minute feature on the real bank robbery. There is plenty of behind the scene video and interviews with the production staff, cast and director. The audio commentary track is fairly insightful as the three discuss their recollection of the 1971 heist and how the film was adapted. My favorite was the piece on the Robbery itself as it was quite informative and interesting. Lionsgate has included a SD Digital Copy of the film which can be downloaded to a portable playback device from a PC or MAC. This disc featured a disc resume function (after pressing stop only once) and a bookmark option. My personal opinion is that this should be standard on every Blu-ray Disc as it makes life much simpler.
- Audio Commentary with Director Roger Donaldson, Actress Saffron Burrows, and Composer J. Peter Robinson
- Inside the Bank Job: Featurette
- The Baker Street Bank Raid: Featurette
- Deleted and Extended scenes with optional commentary
- Theatrical Trailer
- Lionsgate BD Previews
- Digital Copy of the film
The Bank Job is an entertaining and clever film that is worthy of each minute of its 110 minute run time. Lionsgate has delivered it to Blu-ray Disc day and date with DVD in a neat package that features reference quality high resolution audio and a decent set of bonus supplements. I recommend that you give it a spin.
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