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The Bank

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: The Bank

Starring: David Wenham, Anthony LaPaglia
Director: Robert Connolly
Rated: NR
RunTime: 103 Minutes
Release Date: October 2002
Genres: Drama, Suspense

*Also starring: Mitchell Butel, Greg Stone, Sibylla Budd, Steve Rodgers, Mandy McElhinney, Kazuhiro Muroyama

Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

Simon O'Reilly (Anthony LaPaglia) is a take-no-prisoners businessman who trained at the Gordon Gekko School of ruthless behavior. An Australian bank president, he is currently under the gun from his board to increase his profits more than last year's fourteen percent growth. Since he achieved last year's profits only through massive layoffs, it looks almost impossible to achieve good, much less better, results this year.

In Robert Connolly's THE BANK, it isn't the pressure that Simon is under that bothers him. His biggest problem is that he's bored. What he'd like to do is to gamble his entire net worth and the bank's on one turn of the roulette wheel, that is if he could just figure out some way to obtain some illegal advantage.

Salvation for Simon's terminal boredom comes in the form of a computer nerd named Jim Doyle (David Wenham who plays Faramir in THE TWO TOWERS). Jim, a freshly minted Ph.D. who looks like an ex-surfing champion, is a mathematical genius whose specialty is applying fractal theory to predicting everything from the weather to the stock market. Simon is intrigued by Jim's studies but not by his weather forecasting abilities. Simon thinks that Jim is "on the verge of discovering the Holy Grail of economic theory." Using his "foot at the back of the neck" management techniques, Simon brings Jim on board and gives him the largest computer in the southern hemisphere to work with. Simon wants to risk it all on one climatic spin of the stock market's big wheel.

This non-stop anti-bank and anti-capitalist diatribe is fun even if most of the twists are telegraphed from a mile away. In the battle between a naive and altruistic geek and a vicious and ultra-confident executive, who do you think will win? And when the big test comes with Jim claiming that he can predict a massive market crash, what do you think will happen? The closest the movie comes to a surprise is in the character of Michelle Roberts (Sibylla Budd), a dark haired beauty who comes on to Jim from his first day on the job.

The surprise of the movie itself is that bank investors and those who blame all of their life's miseries on some bank can both enjoy this satisfying David and Goliath tale. It's sleek and simple and doesn't tax your brain. You know where it's heading, and you're happy to see it get there.

THE BANK runs 1:43. It is not rated but might be PG-13 for brief language and some sexuality and would be acceptable for kids around 12 and up.

Copyright 2002 Steve Rhodes

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