Drop your weapons, you are surrounded by armed bastards! What’s this? Sam Tyler and Gene Hunt, reunited as Eighties bank robbers?

Sacha Bennett’s interesting take on the heist thriller sees the Life On Mars co-stars (John Simm and Philip Glenister) thrown back together as part of a gang of professional thieves, who plan to raid a bank on the exact same day two other robberies are being set in motion. The target is the Meidan-i-Noor, a large emerald that, due to the bank’s adoption of a new security system, is being kept there on just one particular Tuesday.

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Beginning with the police interrogation of the suspects and jumping back and forth in time, Bennett intricately plots out the stories behind the different players, their planning of the robberies and what eventually happens to the emerald. Strongly influenced by the likes of The Usual Suspects, Bennett gives the film a polished look that belies its low budget. With more money to spend, his next feature should be one to look out for.

Bennett offers the premise that if a bank can only be hit on one specific day, surely more than one person would think of robbing it? So in addition to Glenister’s crew, separate plans are also hatched by a couple of disgruntled bank clerks and a man pushed to his limits through desperation. Inevitably, they all converge on the bank at the same time to disastrous and comic effect.

Besides Glenister and Simm, also making up the cast is former So Solid Crew member Ashley Walters, who continues to impress, and Kevin McNally as the police detective attempting to solve the crime. However, it is Glenister who owns the picture; as the gang’s experienced leader he is terrific, even if he is essentially playing a criminal version of Gene Hunt from Life On Mars.

The Eighties setting is perhaps more of a plot device than anything – such amateurish bank heists would surely never be attempted now – but it is employed to good effect, with few of the expected clichés.

The film’s weakness is its reliance on flashbacks and a non-linear plotline, which while certainly effective at times, also become increasingly confusing to keep up with. In addition, there are just too many implausible scenes that require us to suspend our disbelief a little too far. However, the performances are great and the structure an ambitious attempt at bringing something new to the heist movie genre.

Reviewed on: 28 Feb 2009
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Heists collide as a bank is simultaneously targeted by different sets of thieves.
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Richard Mellor *

Director: Sacha Bennett

Writer: Sacha Bennett

Starring: Philip Glenister, John Simm, Ashley Walters, Cristian Solimeno, Kevin McNally, Kate Magowan, Kirsty Mitchell, Linal Haft, Alex MacQueen, Dylan Brown

Year: 2008

Runtime: 79 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


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