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‘Bank Robber’

By Rita Kempley
Washington Post Staff Writer
December 08, 1993


Nick Mead
Patrick Dempsey;
Lisa Bonet;
Olivia D'Abo;
Forest Whitaker;
Judge Reinhold;
Michael Jeter
nudity, violence, drug use and language

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"Bank Robber" is a dark -- as in poorly lighted -- comedy that manages to be anesthetizing despite its NC-17 rating. Don't be seduced by its racy credentials, as even the sex, while vigorously executed, is dull and unimaginative.

An artsy-tartsy French and American co-production, the film focuses on the misadventures of a gentle bandit, Billy (pleasant but impotent Patrick Dempsey). The youthful offender holds up a bank, then holes up in a dive -- the Heartbreak Hotel on Lonely Street yet -- and doesn't come out for the rest of the movie.

He does send out for pizza, beer, drugs and a hooker (Lisa Bonet). When the pizza man (John Chappoulis) and the hotel clerks (Michael Jeter and Joe Alaskey) realize his identity, they charge him exorbitant rates for food and shelter. Only the hooker charges a reasonable price for her services. "An honest day for honest pay," says she.

Meanwhile, Billy agrees to a hotel room interview with a stuck-up and insincere talk show hostess (Mariska Hargitay). "The line between crime and fame are pretty blurred when it comes to TV," she observes. Billy's girlfriend (Olivia D'Abo), who also appears on the show, says she still loves him, but she is already sexually involved with his best friend.

The police (Forest Whitaker and Judge Reinhold), being less resourceful than the media, drive around in their squad car talking about how society has failed Billy, who comes from a long line of bank robbers. They plan to apologize to the young man if they ever catch him. This is all the harder as they are dope smokers.

"Bank Robber" is the feature-film debut of Nick Mead, a music video-maker drunk on his own self-importance and banal observations. He's as dim as the lighting when it comes to startling insights.

"Bank Robber" is rated NC-17 for nudity, violence, drug use and language.

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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