REVIEW: How To Rob A Bank (and 10 tips to actually get away with it)

Friday, June 29, 2007 at 3:26 p.m.

This is the second film I saw as part of the Los Angeles Film Festival - the first of four consecutive movies within a 10-hour period.

Probably the most interesting thing about this film - what made me interested in it - are the appearances of the actors Nick Stahl and Erika Christensen. The movie plays to that; it jumps straight into the action (of the two characters) - not much, considering it's about how their characters are stuck in a vault - and fills in the details leading up to said detention in the vault later in the story.

Unfortunately that's almost the only asset of the film.

Nick Stahl, whom I sorta like but always thought had a rather distinctive (read: weird) face, never comes across as anything but his character (which is a major compliment I give to actors), who's just an average joe tired of ATM machines taking a $1.50 surcharge out of every withdrawal he makes, which seems to be the original starting point of the whole concept of the movie from the way the director emphasised it (even though the film isn't all that much about that particular issue ultimately). Erika Christensen plays the freelance bank-robbing henchwoman who quickly becomes Stahl's character's ally in getting out of the vault. The whole thing is basically a bank heist gone wrong.

Now, when you hear bank heist, you'd probably think of The Inside Man, the last bank heist movie. The set-up here is similar in a nominal way; but the intelligence of the characters differ by a huge gap. The villain is constantly desperate and emotional. The police captain in charge is ... played with a childish streak.

Actually it's all down to the dialogue. It's trying to be smart - you hear it through the witty play with certain words or sentence structures in the lines. However it plays wit over on-the-nose dialogue, which is a pretty low foundation to build upon. Some lines did make me laugh, but on the whole I kept thinking that ...

... yes, this is an indie film. One that fails to break out of its class and is, hence, without class.

How Good The Film Is: 6.5/10
How Much I Liked It: 6.5/10
At What Point Did I First Looked At My Watch: 10 mins

PS - The (and 10 tips to actually get away with it) part of the title would have been smart ... if they had been specific tips rather than general advice like 'expect the unexpected' or 'shit happens'.

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