“Greed is good,” pronounced Gordon Geccho (Michael Douglas) in the Oliver Stone classic film “Wall Street”. Although “The Bank” is a lot of fun, dramatic and has a strong themes pertaining to greed, especially to do with big banks, it really is just a poor cousin to “Wall Street” which covered a lot of the same territory, but in much better style. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll enjoy the ride in The Bank, and although its plot points involving a genius mathematician who comes up with a formula to beat the stock market and eventually catches the interest of a big bank are original, much of the themes, characters and style are taken directly from “Wall Street”. In this respect, it’s a little disappointing to watch a film that is so similar to another one, but at the same time, it’s an enjoyable film that cleverly exploits the public’s general dislike of big, greedy banks.
The basic plot of the film is as follows: Jim Doyle (David Wenham), genius mathematician, devises a computer program which can predict the outcomes of the stock market. He has a fateful meeting with Centabank CEO Simon O’Reilly (Anthony LaPaglia) and together, using the bank’s resources, they go on a quest to perfect the computer program. Along the way, Doyle is drawn deeper and deeper in to the world the bank’s corruption, but the Bank underestimates Doyle, leading to the destruction of Centabank, all by Doyle’s hand.
David Wenham is an excellent actor and he portrays Jim Doyle with just the right amount innocence but with something else brewing underneath. Doyle is a complicated character with a past that isn’t revealed until the final scene and through his character we get some very dramatic story-telling with a not-so-obvious outcome.
Anthony LaPaglia is the real reason to watch this film. Much like Michael Douglas’ character from Wall Street, LaPaglia’s Simon O’Reilly is conniving, devious, greedy, intelligent, and above-all-else charming. He’s the devil, but he’s great to watch. He has all the best lines. He’s a black hole of a person, but even so he does have some dimension, especially when he professes to Jim his ambition and desire to make a statement to the world by supporting Jim’s project to try and beat the stock market.
The film looks very good for an Australian film; it’s look almost film-noir with a cool, dark look but still rich and vibrant all at the same time. The film is well paced and edited, building the tension and the drama step-by-step. The music is also a departure for most Australian films, leaning more towards a Hitchcock-film style score which greatly suits the piece. Director Robert Connolly deserves a lot of marks for making a very atmospheric, dramatic film, if not entirely original.
The Bank is decent entertainment. It’s just a shame that “Wall Street” did it already.
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