Sunday, January 27, 2008

You Used To Think That It Was So Easy

“Windin' your way down on Baker Street
Light in your head and dead on your feet
Well another crazy day
You'll drink the night away
And forget about everything”
Gerry Rafferty - Baker Street

Excitement and anticipation were my overriding feelings on Wednesday night as I headed towards Leicester Square for a screening of The Bank Job. And here’s why:

1. The invitation to the screening was printed on an old, discontinued one pound note. How unutterably cool is that?

2. The director of the movie is Roger Donaldson, a filmmaker I am exceptionally fond of. Not because he is such a gifted storyteller, or because I absolutely love No Way Out and Thirteen Days, but because seven years ago he was gracious and accommodating to an inexperienced film journalist conducting his first interview and he made me feel comfortable and relaxed as he answered my questions. A true gentleman.

3. It’s a heist movie! I love heist movies!

4. The pitch worked on me straight away: “In September 1971, thieves tunnelled into the vault of a bank in London’s Baker Street and looted safe deposit boxes of cash and jewellery worth millions and millions of pounds. None of it was recovered. Nobody was ever arrested. The robbery made headlines for a few days and then disappeared - the result of a UK Government ‘D’ Notice, gagging the press. This film reveals what was hidden in those boxes. The story involves murder, corruption and a sex scandal with links to the Royal Family - a story in which the thieves were the most innocent people involved.”

5. It’s a movie about London and history and corruption and secrets and lies. And it all takes place on Baker Street, a road that has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I’ve worked on Baker Street. I set foot on Baker Street nearly every working day of my life. And the attention to period detail is just glorious. Sure, the odd anachronism sometimes pokes its way into the corner of the frame now and again, but this is an irrelevance when the film manages to get everything else so right.

6. Peter Bowles is in it!

When I walked out into the chill night air of Leicester Square after the movie had ended, I was not disappointed. My excitement and anticipation had been justified. Ten minutes after the curtain had dropped and the last of the credits had rolled, I was standing outside 185 Baker Street. It is still the site of Lloyds Bank 37 years on. And all these years, as I’ve been walking past, I never knew that it was a location dripping in intrigue and mystery. Not only as the location of the “Walkie-Talkie Bank Job”, but the hidden crypt running under the street containing the remains of many who died in the Great Plague of London in 1666.

With The Bank Job, a whole bunch of my preoccupations come together in one satisfying package. It’s still only January and I might have already seen the best film of the year. AKA says check it out.

The official website for the movie complete with the trailer can be found here, and for some more background on the true events that inspired the film click here.

The Bank Job is released in the UK on 28 February 2008 and in the US on 7 March 2008.

No comments: