Blagging it both ways
The Bank Job (2008) and the British heist movie
in Crank it up
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This chapter is a case study of the 2008 British-made heist/caper movie The Bank Job – a film based (loosely) on the 1971 Baker Street robbery. In common with other modern British (and Statham) films such as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, The Bank Job demonstrates a postmodern awareness of its status as a genre film and is replete with references to British popular culture – a feature that might be attributed to the agency of writers Dick Clement and Ian Le Frenais. The chapter will therefore locate the film within the cultural and genre lineages of the British heist movie – a taxonomy that also includes celebrated Ealing comedies (The Lavender Hill Mob and The Ladykillers), sixties international capers (The Italian Job – remade in Hollywood in 2003 featuring Statham as ‘Handsome Rob’ – and Maroc 7), period adventures (The First Great Train Robbery) and ‘true crime’ pictures (Buster and the 2013 television drama The Great Train Robbery). The chapter will also consider the reception discourses of The Bank Job in order to assess the extent to which it was understood as a Statham star vehicle (marking Statham’s ‘return to Britain’ at a time when his star was in the ascendancy in Hollywood) and/or as a homage to the history of the British caper/adventure movie.

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