You know Clive Owen is an actor that puzzles me. I always think that he could do a lot better than the films I’ve seen him in. King Arthur was a piece of piss, although it looked great. His part of Sin City was the weakest, and I never bothered with Closer, so why do I always think he is a good actor?
Well, here he does a good job as Dalton Russell, a bank robber who has planned the perfect heist. Only we know that things aren’t quite what they seem.
And therein lies the problem. Because the trailers, the marketing, it has all told us that this is no simple, conventional bank robbery. We are aware from the very start that some twist is to be expected. And so it doesn’t work quite as well as it would if the film was left to unfold and tell its story.
It is well-told, with nice use of flashback, as the hostages debriefings are interspersed giving us an idea of the ending. Denzel Washington’s character is probably the only one that comes anywhere near a three dimensional person. The others are sketched in, but with no background and no development they are more concerned with driving the story rather than telling their own. That said, a lot of the dialogue is great. The interaction between the detectives, Keith Frazier and Bill Mitchell (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is well done, as is the hostile regard between Frazier and Dafoe’s SWAT captain.
Overall it is a little predictable. There are double-bluffs and hidden truths that any audience with half a brain can spot coming. But despite this I still really enjoyed this film. It is 2 hours of solid entertainment, with a few laughs thrown in, as well as couple of “social” comments.