Bandits

Movie Review by Dr Kuma

Starring: Bruce Willis, Cate Blanchett, Billy Bob Thornton
Director: Barry Levinson

Strange one this. It’s a big budget movie with an independent feel. Only the very commercial soundtrack (to which Willis contributes very successfully) and the production values give it away.

Barry Levinson, obviously thought that it would be a nice idea to remake NATURAL BORN KILLERS as a family movie, which is exactly what he’s done here. Because of the credibility of the cast and his subtle direction he seems to pull it off – but only just.

Willis and Billy Bob Thornton are very likeable in the lead roles and have a real chemistry (which is shown in the end of reel monologues). However, it seems they too have sat down and said ‘right – let’s be the Newman and Redford of the new millennia, likeable rogues, just like they were in BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID and THE STING’. They succeed in doing this – but only just.

The plot, however, is very ‘Hollywood’. Subtitles should say, around 3 minutes into the film that it is ‘fine to switch your brains off for the next 30 minutes’ as everything is formula nonsense and far too easy. If robbing banks and escaping were that simple then all the banks would be trendy wine bars by now. Although the twosome are nicknamed ‘the sleepover bandits’, they could easily be called ‘the beach home renters’ because after every job, they hire a fantastic pad overlooking the ocean. Are we really supposed to believe that a wig, fake facial hair and knowledge of the Pacific coast are all you need to be a successful bank robber?

Once Cate Blanchett calms down and becomes less irritating, the movie finds it’s feet and becomes a very enjoyable caper movie. Thornton in his various disguises (Neil Young, Andy Warhol etc) steals the show.

If you can see the plot twist at the end coming a mile off it doesn’t spoil the enjoyment of watching it unfold. Cast and director handle the tie up of all the loose ends in the last 15 minutes very well.

All in all this is pure popcorn but all the more enjoyable for it.

4 out of 6 stars

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