Stranger Than Fiction

2008-08-04
2:54:22 pm

“Based on a true story” is one of those tags that tend not to mean too much on a movie poster. You can get anything from Monster to Texas Chainsaw Massacre under said banner. Of course, as you probably know, TCM wasn’t REALLY based on a true story, but borrowed a very few details from the life of serial killer Ed Gein.

Anyway, this post has nothing to do with TCM or Monster (which I haven’t seen). I happened to watch two “based on a true stories” flicks this weekend, 21 and The Bank Job. I actually had no idea that Bank Job was based on reality (or that it was set in the ’70s because I apparently don’t pay attention very well). Here’s what I thought.

I had 21 on my Blockbuster account for a few reasons. I dig Kevin Spacey (just not as Lex Luthor, sorry). I also really liked Jim Sturgess in Across the Universe (you guys should check that out). And finally, I like Vegas movies, plus the fact that this was actually based on a true story intrigued me. I’ve done absolutely no research on this, but I think I remember seeing something about these guys back in the day on the Discovery Channel. Could be someone else though. I do know that this movie was based on a book of the same name.

Anyway, it’s your standard, “normal kid enters a morally compromising world in order to make money and gets overtaken by it for a time.” The main kid’s a math genius and joins up with professor Kevin Spacey who has this crew that he teaches to count cards in blackjack. The main dude just wants to make enough money to pay for Harvard Med School, but he goes a bit crazy with the money and the strippers and what not. It ends with a kinda-twist ending that isn’t all that surprising, but I liked it overall. It’s a good movie to turn on while you’re doing other stuff because you can easily bounce in and out of the room without losing too much track of the story.

The same can be said for The Bank Job which I rented solely because of Jason Statham’s involvement. Like I said, I didn’t know much about it except for that fact that one of the best action stars in the world (yes, Statham) starred in it. I was actually expecting more of a flick in the vein of Transporter or even Ocean’s 11 (you know, flashy and what not).

But I was wrong. And I’ll be honest, the only reasons the movie that Em repeatedly called “dry” didn’t disappoint was because Statham’s so damn charismatic and because this bad boy was based on a true story. I, of course, did no additional research, but there’s just something about watching a wild movie like this that actually happened (to some extent).

The basic story is that Saffron Burrows convinces Statham to get his crew together and swipe the safe deposit boxes from a bank vault. They succeed, but it turns out that the government is after them because the crooks (or villains, as the Brits continuously call them muck to my delight) also snatched some compromising pictures and videos of officials and the princess. But, like Em said, it is a pretty dry movie, but I’m not sure if that’s because of the story itself or because everyone in the cast is British.

All in all, I’m glad I didn’t drop $10 to see either of these movies in the theater, but it was worth taking up a spot on my Blockbuster queue.