The Bank Job is a 2008 British crime film directed by Roger Donaldson and starring Jason Statham, based on the 1971 Baker Street robbery in central London, from which the money and valuables stolen were never recovered. The producers allege that the story was prevented from being told because of a D-Notice (now known as a DA-Notice) government gagging request, allegedly to protect a prominent member of the British Royal Family. According to the producers, this movie is intended to reveal the truth for the first time,, Lionsgate UK website, Accessed 9 January 2008 although it includes significant elements of fiction.
The premiere was held in London on 18 February 2008, and the film was released in the UK on 29 February 2008.
Petty-criminal-gone-straight Terry Leather (Jason Statham) owns a failing car-sales garage and feels harassed by two debt-collectors. His friend, the photographer Kevin Swain's (Stephen Campbell Moore) ex-girlfriend, a former model named Martine Love (Saffron Burrows) offers Terry a chance to earn enough money to never worry about debt again: a bank robbery in Baker Street, London. Leather gathers his petty-criminal friends, including Swain, a pornographic actor Dave Shilling (Daniel Mays), a Cypriot mechanic named Bambas (Alki David), and an elegant con-man "Major" Guy Singer (James Faulkner). While scouting out the bank, Leather and Love enter and inspect the vault while Shilling poses for photographs by Swain. The gangster Lew Vogel (David Suchet), who keeps records of his pay-offs to police at Lloyd’s bank, happens upon Shilling and Swain.
They lease a shop named Le Sac two lots away from the bank and dig a tunnel under The Chicken Inn fast-food restaurant to reach the underground bank vault. Terry employs Eddie Burton (Michael Jibson), one of his garage workers, as a "watchman" with a walkie-talkie to sit on a roof to keep look-out.
Martine, once caught smuggling heroin into Britain and wanting to avoid jail, set them up for this job on behalf of MI5, which desires the contents of a certain safe deposit box, No. 118. This box contains sensual and compromising photos of a member of the British Royal Family (in the film, Princess Margaret). The photos and box belong to a black militant gangster who calls himself Michael X (Peter de Jersey); he uses the photos to avoid trouble with the Metropolitan Police, and MI5 is charged with keeping the photos out of circulation.
As Terry's crew digs, the radio chatter draws the attention of a local amateur radio operator, who overhears the conversation and realizes a robbery is in progress. He calls the police, who begin to search their ten-mile radius and listen for concrete details to pin the robbery down.
Terry's crew breaks through and loots the vault, as Martine goes for the photo deposit-box. A suspicious Terry opens it with her and, upon seeing the pictures, realizes Martine's hidden agenda. Among the photos are many of high-ranking government officials, including a senior MP, in compromising positions in a local S&M brothel. The robbers take these with money and other valuables. Terry arranges for alternate transportation "to be safe", throwing off MI5 who had intended to intercept them.
Guy and Bambas escape with their share and Terry confronts Martine over the photos, who explains the unfolding predicament. The robbery discovered, the police — corrupt ones receiving payoffs and honest ones — began an investigation while MI5 continues their search. Also joining the search for Terry's crew is Lew Vogel, an organized crime figure worried about the contents of his ledger, which lists payoffs he made to police, which was stolen in the robbery. He informs Michael X that the royal 'portraits' had gone missing and Michael X becomes suspicious of Gale Benson (Hattie Morahan), a British spy who loves his American colleague Black Power militant Hakim Jamal (Colin Salmon) and has travelled with him and Jamal to Trinidad.
Remembering the encounter with Shilling outside of the bank before the robbery, Vogel has him tortured for information with a sandblaster. Shilling breaks and Vogel goes to Terry's garage and kidnaps Eddie, the lookout. Meanwhile, a senior minister in the government, Lord Drysdale, is shown photos of himself in the brothel run by Sonia Bern (Sharon Maughan) and agrees to help absolve the robbers and secure them safe passage. Meanwhile, MI5 issues a D-Notice forbidding press reports. Police simultaneously release recordings of the walkie-talkie conversations in the hope that someone will recognize the voices. These recordings are heard on the radio by Terry's family.
Vogel's accomplice, corrupt Detective Gerald Pyke (Don Gallagher), shoots Dave and threatens to shoot Eddie unless Vogel gets his ledger back. Vogel agrees with Terry to meet him at Paddington Station in London. During this time, Guy and Bambas are murdered by persons unknown, and Michael X has Benson killed in Trinidad by an associates. Terry has Kev give the same instruction to Detective Sergeant Roy Given (Gerard Horan), the officer in charge of the investigation, citing knowledge of corrupt officers under Vogel's control. He convinces Vogel to go to Paddington Station at the same time, offering him the ledger in return for Eddie's safe return.
Terry heads to the rendezvous while Martine meets up with Tim Everett (Richard Lintern), her original contact in MI5, on a bridge overlooking the scene. Vogel and his corrupt police arrive with the mechanic, but recognize the MI5 agents and run. The deputy head of MI5 (with Lord Mountbatten) hands over the passports Terry bargained for, in return for the photos of the princess. Terry then chases Vogel and in a fight knocks out Vogel and his thugs, including corrupt Detective Nick Barton (Craig Fairbrass).
Detective Given, officer in charge of the investigation, arrives to see the robbers arrested. He speaks with the MI5 officers present, who direct police to let the robbers go. Terry gives the ledger to the police officer before he, Kevin, and Eddie leave the scene. Vogel and the corrupt officers are arrested instead. Everett personally supervises Michael X's arrest in Trinidad and Tobago and has Benson's remains exhumed for reburial in Britain.
The final scenes have Terry and Martine saying good-bye, and Terry and his family enjoying a relaxed and carefree life on a small motor yacht of their own, off a sunny beach.
The epilogue states that the revelations about the brothel forced many government officials to resign. Scotland Yard begins investigating the corrupt officers named in the ledger. Michael X was hanged in 1975 for Benson's murder and his personal files are kept hidden in the British National Archives until 2054. Vogel is imprisoned for eight years for crimes that were unrelated to the robbery. The murderers of Guy and Bambas have never been found. About ₤4 million worth of materials and money were stolen from the robbery. At least 100 safety-deposit box owners did not claim insurance nor identify the items in the boxes.
The film is in part based on historical facts. A gang tunnelled into a branch of Lloyds Bank at the junction between Baker Street and Marylebone Road, in London, on the night of 11 September 1971 and robbed the safe deposit boxes there. The robbers had rented a leather goods shop named Le Sac, two doors down from the bank, and tunnelled a distance of approximately 40 feet (12 metres), passing under the intervening Chicken Inn restaurant.
Robert Rowlands, a radio ham operator, overheard conversations between the robbers and their rooftop lookout. He contacted police and tape recorded the conversations, which were subsequently made public. The film includes lines recorded by Rowlands, such as the lookout's comment that "Money may be your god, but it's not mine, and I'm fucking off." After four days of news coverage, the British authorities supposedly issued a D-Notice, requesting that news coverage be discontinued for reasons of national security, however The Times was still reporting the case over two months later. Contrary to its portrayal in the film, a D-Notice cannot be legally enforced.
The film's producers claim that they have an inside source, identified in press reports as George McIndoe, who served as an executive producer. The film's claims that the issuance of the D-Notice was because a safe deposit box held sex pictures of Princess Margaret, and the possible connection to Michael X (whose governmental file purportedly is secret until 2054), are apparently based on information provided by McIndoe, though it is not clear what is the basis of his information or how specific it is supposed to be. The film makers apparently have acknowledged that they made up the character Martine, and The New Yorker is apparently right to conclude that it is "impossible to say how much of the film's story is true".
The fictitious character of Lew Vogel may in part allude to pornographer and racketeer Bernie Silver,Paul Byrnes, , Sydney Morning Herald, 25 July 2008 a key figure in Soho in the 1960s and early 1970s, who was jailed in 1975 for the 1956 murder of Tommy "Scarface" Smithson; and also to later events surrounding his associate the real-life pornographer James Humphreys. After an outcry in 1972 when the Sunday People published photographs of the head of the Metropolitan Police Flying Squad, Commander Kenneth Drury, spending a luxurious two-week holiday with their wives with Humphreys in Cyprus, a police raid on Humphreys' house uncovered a wallsafe containing a diary cataloguing detailed itemised payments to seventeen different officers. Humphreys was jailed for eight years in 1974 for wounding his wife's former lover. He then turned Queen's Evidence, testifying against some of Scotland Yard's most senior officers in two major corruption trials in 1977; for which he received a Royal Pardon and was released from prison.Barry Cox, John Shirley, and Martin Short (1977). The Fall of Scotland Yard. Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-052318-9. In 1994 Humphreys was jailed for twelve months for living off the earnings of prostitutes., The Independent, 2 July 1994Andrew Weir, , The Independent, 4 July 1994
The major political sex scandal of the period was the resignation of Lord Lambton in 1973. Again the circumstances were somewhat different to those shown in the film. Lambton resigned after a photograph was circulated around Fleet Street by the husband of one of two prostitutes he was shown in bed with, smoking marijuana; along with more photographs of other "prominent people"., Daily Telegraph, 1 January 2004, The Guardian, 2 January 2007 The prostitute, Norma Levy, did specialise in sado-masochism as a dominatrix, but remembers Lambton as being "relatively straight", and if anything more interested in the marijuana.David Jones, , Daily Mail, 26 January 2007 She had been introduced to Lambton in July 1972 by upmarket madame Jean Horn. The affair was subsequently investigated by DCS Bert Wickstead of the Serious Crime Squad, who had also led the investigations into Silver and Humphreys., The Daily Telegraph, 24 March 2001, The Guardian, 27 March 2001 A confusion led to the additional resignation of another minister, Lord Jellicoe, although he had not been directly connected with Levy.
Part of the filming took place on location at the offices of Websters, 136 Baker Street where the rooftops were actually used for lookout purposes. The majority of outside shots, namely shots including the bank and adjacent shops, were done on a specially constructed set of Baker Street, to retain an authentic feel of the period and to allow for greater control of visible elements.
Bankjob street set.jpgthumbrightScreenshot illustrating how a special outdoor set was constructed for production of the film
*Jason Statham as Terry Leather
*Saffron Burrows as Martine Love
*Richard Lintern as Tim Everett
*Stephen Campbell Moore as Kevin Swain
*James Faulkner as Guy Arthur Singer
*Daniel Mays as Dave Shilling
*Alki David as Bambas
*Michael Jibson as Eddie Burton
*Georgia Taylor as Ingrid Burton
*Keeley Hawes as Wendy Leather
*Gerard Horan as Det. Sgt. Roy Given
*Craig Fairbrass as Det. Nick Barton
*Don Gallagher as Det. Gerald Pyke
*Julian Lewis Jones as MI5 Ag. Snow
*Andrew Brooke as MI5 Ag. Quinn
*David Suchet as Lew Vogel
*Sharon Maughan as Sonia Bern
*Peter Bowles as Miles Urquhart
*Alistair Petrie as Philip Lisle
*Peter de Jersey as Michael Abdul Malik a.k.a. Michael X
*Colin Salmon as Hakim Jamal
*Hattie Morahan as Gale Benson
*Angus Wright as Eric Addey, Radio Operator
*Les Kenny-Green as Pinky
*Jamie Kenna as Perky
*Rupert Frazer as Lord Drysdale
*Christopher Owen as Lord Mountbatten of Burma
The film was well received by critics. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 79% of the T-Meter critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 138 reviews. Rotten Tomatoes also reports that 90% of the "top critics" gave the film positive reviews based on 29 reviews. Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 69 out of 100, based on 32 reviews.
Box office performance
The film has grossed $30,060,660 in the United States and Canada, and $33,693,890 in other territories for a total worldwide gross of $63,754,550.
The film opened at #4 in North America and grossed $5,935,256 in 1,603 theaters, averaging to about $3,703 per theatre.
*"Get It On" – T.Rex
*"Lola" – The Kinks
*"Hey There" – The Basics
*"Money (That's What I Want)" – Covered by The Storys, seen early in the film as the wedding band
*"Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress" – The Hollies
*"In the Midnight Hour" – Wilson Pickett
*"Gunshot" – Anthony Johnson
ReferencesThis text has been derived from The Bank Job on Wikipedia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License 3.0