I had to watch this film twice before I fully appreciated it. You see the film is quite dull in places - the robbery for example is just some people digging, entering a bank safe and then stealing some safe deposit boxes, nothing more nothing less! The action is also very thin and some of the actors and actresses are not all that good, yet put that aside and look at what you have got and the film comes across very well indeed and at the end of the day what we have here is yet another cult British gangster film.
For what The Bank Job lacks in action, great set pieces and acting it more than makes up for in plot and direction. The seventies image is captured brilliantly with the outfits, the buildings, cars etc and although there are no large set-pieces for shoot outs, car chases etc, the image is very well put across. The plot is also very well thought out. Loosely based on the events of September 1971 when a gang of amateur robbers bought a shop down the road from the Baker Street Lloyd's Bank so that they could tunnel under and gain access to the safe. As this infamous robbery forms the basis to the plot, the writers then add an air of mystery to the proceedings to explain why they think the real robbery was downplayed and very quickly removed from the tabloids and mass media.
As mentioned though; despite its great story, image and direction The Bank Job does fall flat in some areas. For example; at times it comes across as quite an amusing piece of film work, but then suddenly the jokes disappear and it becomes all serious before becoming slightly quirky again! It also lacks a lot of action that may make or break a person's decision to watch a heist movie, but Jason Statham (Transporter, The Italian Job remake) does have moments where his petty garage owning thug Terry Leather does get to deliver some old school British action through several fight scenes. The cast also spans many different talents, including the likes of Colin Salmon (Tomorrow Never Dies), Georgia Taylor (Coronation Street), Craig Fairbrass (EastEnders, Prime Suspect), David Suchet (Poirot) and Keeley Hawes (Spooks, Ashes To Ashes) - who gives a much better performance her in her role as Terry's (Statham) wife than she does as DI Drake in Ashes To Ashes - amongst others. Overall; this simple but very effective story of what happened or might have happened one weekend in 1971 is very well put together and features a vast array of talents, although not all of them are good! This film is certainly worth watching for anyone who enjoys gritty British gangster films; it may however take you time to appreciate its quality as it did with me.