Incident By A Bank

Incident By A Bank

***1/2

Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

In 2006, on the 26th of June, two young men attempted to rob a bank. Among the by-standers was Ruben Östlund, and this is his reconstruction of that heist. A crime, let us be clear, that does not go well. A slipshod, ramshackle, amateurish affair, a calamitous caper, a mucked-up misdemeanour. Indeed, in every way that Östlund's film is slick and polished and well-done their doings were not.

That inept illegality produces genuine comedy. Östlund's camera follows events with a slow tracking zoom that recalls Haneke's Caché, though to markedly different effect. Intriguingly, the tracking was created in post-production, the reconstruction seamlessly integrated to appear a single cut. As a feat, then, it's impressive, and as a film it's entertaining.

Our remote perspective makes it hard to focus on the actors directly, but as the hapless duo Bahador Foladi and Ramtin Parvaneh are good, but it's Lars Melin and Henrik Vikman who are literally foregrounded for most of the film. They try to capture events on their mobile phone, distracted initially by their own concerns, the two characters (one of whom is approximately autobiographically Östlund) are credited as 'Man on his way to meeting'.

In part an attempt to challenge our expectations, Incident By A Bank is entertaining and surprising. It mines the same ground as Plot Point, but more for comedy than tension. It won a Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival, and it's an award that's richly deserved. The charm of the film is its documentary feel; the interaction of elements that may in fact be unconnected still grabs, compels, and amuses.

Reviewed on: 30 Jul 2010
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A failed bank heist comedy, which takes place in one meticulously choreographed scene.
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