'Bank': Stolen Moments Of Guiltless Pleasure

From left, Jason Statham, Stephen Campbell Moore, James Faulkner, Alki David and Daniel Mays in
From left, Jason Statham, Stephen Campbell Moore, James Faulkner, Alki David and Daniel Mays in "The Bank Job," based on a true story, now on DVD. (By Jack English)
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By Jen Chaney
washingtonpost.com Staff Writer
Friday, July 18, 2008

It has been a long day at the office, filled with mind-numbing meetings in overly air-conditioned conference rooms. You're in the mood for an action flick, something that isn't too mentally taxing but doesn't fall in the "dumb" category, either. The solution is simple. Get "The Bank Job," on DVD ($29.95 standard, $34.98 special edition) this week.

The British movie, which is based on the true story of London's 1971 Baker Street bank robbery, is sexy and diverting but just sophisticated enough to let viewers experience its pleasures without feeling any guilt. Although it delivers on all the promises of any bank heist picture (an ingenious scheme to break into the vault, a champagne-soaked celebration upon discovering all that loot and, inevitably, the thieves' sobering realization that they have gotten in way over their heads), there are more complicating factors than usual in this Jason Statham picture, specifically corruption that goes exceedingly high up the British political chain. The fact that much of the story is true, and that the government initially tried to cover up the details, makes the whole enterprise even more intriguing.

It also fuels the hunger for a special feature that explores what happened back in 1971. Voila! The two-disc, special edition DVD delivers with a 15-minute featurette that delves into the real story, including comments from Robert Rowlands, the ham radio operator who called police when he overhead the robbers communicating via walkie-talkie.

During "The Baker Street Bank Raid," Rowlands recalls that it took several phone calls before police took his warnings about the robbery seriously. One duty officer even suggested that if Rowlands heard any more "funny broadcasts," he should record them. "And he was very sarcastic," Rowlands says, "but it was a very good idea." Those recordings are what eventually helped police track down the perpetrators.

The Rowlands extra is the most vital of the ones that appear here, which also include a better-than-average making-of featurette, six minutes of deleted scenes with optional commentary and a feature-length audio commentary from director Roger Donaldson, actress Saffron Burrows and composer J. Peter Robinson.

In keeping with a growing trend, the second disc contains a digital copy of the movie, making "The Bank Job" transportable via any mobile device. That perk might be worth the extra money to some consumers, especially those who want a clandestine peek at Statham during another one of those marathon PowerPoint sessions.

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