Bandits — The Film

Bandits
Post Created by Jk the secret keeper
Illustrated by j. kiley
Film Review by Roger Ebert with Jk’s Interpretations in CAPS
Post Created On 1st August 2013
Posted On Friday 2nd August 2013
FILM FRIDAY

dedicated to roger ebert film friday

BANDITS: 5 stars

Bandits poster  great
Starring: Cate Blanchett — Bruce Willis — Billy Bob Thorton

Roger Ebert
October 12, 2001

“Bandits” is a movie so determined to be clever and whimsical that it neglects to be anything else. That decision wouldn’t be fatal if the movie had caved in and admitted it was a comedy, but, no, it also wants to contain moments of pathos, suspense and insight, and it’s too flimsy to support them. [I DON’T AGREE WITH ROGER HERE. IT DOES TAKE ON THE COMEDY QUALITY. HIS REVIEW WAS IN 2001. A SENSE OF HUMOUR CHANGES. ONCE CATE BLANCHETT JOINS THE FILM IT BUBBLES ALL OVER THE PLACE] It’s an anthology of unrelated tones; individual scenes may play well, but seem unaware of the movie they’re in. And the love triangle never decides if it’s romance or romantic comedy. If the movie won’t commit, why should we? [BECAUSE IT IS A WORTHY FILM TO COMMIT TOO.] It’s rare for a movie to have three such likable characters and be so unlikeable itself. Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton star, as “America’s most famous bank robbers,” and Cate Blanchett is Kate,

cate singing i need a hero crazy shot She makes a spectacular feast for her husband as she sings along with the song I Need A Hero. She’s having a grand time. And then her husband arrives. What a disappointment he is. No wonder she turns to such gentle men played by Billy Bob Thorton and Bruce Willis. How they come about to meet is one of the funniest scenes in the films. Jk

Bonnie Tyler — I Need a Hero

the executive’s wife who starts as their hostage and becomes their lover. Yes, both of them (or neither of them; the PG-13 movie is cagey about what happens in between those knocks on the motel room doors). She can’t choose. She likes Joe (Willis) because he’s brave, strong and handsome, and Terry (Thornton) because he’s sensitive and cute. [THE LOVE BETWEEN THE THREE OF THEM DOESN’T GO THE LURID ROUTE. IT STAYS SENSITIVE AND APPEALING. YOU UNDERSTAND THEIR RELUCTANCE TO CHOOSE AS THEIR LOVE TOGETHER GROWS]
bandits all three

Thornton’s character is the jewel–a neurotic, fearful hypochondriac who is lactose intolerant, hears a ringing in his ears, suffers from psychosomatic paralysis, and has a phobia about antique furniture. (You never know what’s real and what they’re making up in the movies; Thornton has a real-life phobia about antique furniture, in fact, and almost had a meltdown once during a visit to Johnny Cash’s antiques-filled home.) [BILLY BOB PLAYS UP THE HYPOCHONDRIAC VERY SUBTLY. YET AT THE SAME TIMR DIRECT.]

bandits 6 shot cate

The plot: The partners break out of prison after Joe steals a cement truck, and there’s a nice shot of it plowing its way through suburban back yards. Terry comes up with the idea of taking bank managers hostage in their homes the night before a job, so they can get into the bank before business hours in the morning. [THIS SCENE IS RIP ROARING HYSTERICAL. YOU CAN’T HELP BUT CHEER.]

Bandits-cate looking sad with bruce back to us

They steal a lot of loot, become celebrities, and stay on the loose for an amazing length of time, considering their driver, lookout and “outside man” is Joe’s moronic cousin Harvey (Troy Garity), who dreams of being a stunt man. [TROY GARITY (JANE FONDA’S SON) IS A BIT OF A SCREW UP BUT IT IS WHAT MAKES HIM LOVEABLE.]

cate looking pensive

The movie, directed by Barry Levinson and written by Harley Peyton (“Twin Peaks”), is told in a flashback and actually begins with the news that the two men have been shot dead after a failed hostage situation. Cut to a tabloid TV show whose host got an exclusive interview shortly before the final shootout. [THE NEWS MAN IS NOT TOO INTRUSIVE. HE PLAYS HIS ROLE RATHER WELL.]

Bandits-cate-blanchett-tears

Joe and Terry narrate their career, try to justify themselves, and say Kate was an innocent hostage and not a fellow criminal. [THEY OF COURSE DO THIS TO NOT INCRIMINATE CATE IN THEIR SCHEMES. SHE JUST WANTS TO BE WITH THEM. YOU CANNOT HOLD THAT AGAINST HER AFTER YOU MEET HER CARELESS HUSBAND IN THE FIRST PART OF THE FILM. HE’S A JERK. ALSO, THE WAY THE THREE HAPPEN TO COME TOGETHER IS WHAT MAKES THIS FILM TURN THE ROAD TO THE DEEPER COMEDIC SIDE AND PULLS IT OFF RATHER WELL.]

Bandits cate and bruce

Eventually the film works its way back to the fatal robbery it began with, and to the classic line, “The suspects are in a shootout with themselves.” The film has laughs sprinkled here and there. I liked the way the confused Terry asks Joe, “What’s on our mind?”

Bandits billy and bruce

And the way Kate’s preoccupied husband, [HE IS SO INSIGNIFICANT YOU BARELY REMEMBER HIS SCENES, EXCEPT YOU’D LIKE TO KICK HIM IN THE “JUNK” LIKE MEN CALL IN AND FEAR IT BEING HURT.] a self-involved hotshot, goes on TV to tell the kidnapped woman: “I’m going to Spain next week. If the kidnappers want to reach me, they can get in touch with my people.” And I liked the jolly little fireplug of a bank manager who is delighted to meet the “Sleepover Bandits” in person, but cannot take them seriously.

Bandits billy bob and bruce

Problem is, the movie doesn’t commit to any of the several directions in which it meanders. Is the romantic triangle poignant, or a gimmick? [FIGURE THIS ONE OUT YOUR SELF. I WAS SATISFIED/PLEASED.] Do the guys joke and make small talk during robberies because this is a comedy, or because they are pathological narcissists? [NO, IT IS BECAUSE THEY ARE NICE GUYS IN THE SENSE OF BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID. IT WORKS FOR ME.] The flashback structure is an annoyance, [NOT REALLY. I LOVE ROGER BUT I THINK IT WAS AT THE TIME WHEN HE FIRST REVIEWS BANDITS THAT PUTS HIM IN A GRUMPY MOOD WHEN HE REVIEWS THIS FILM. IT WAS IN OCTOBER 2001]

Bandits-cate-blanchett-billy bob going to kiss

and by the time it is justified, it’s too late: We’ve already been annoyed. One of the joys of Barry Levinson’s “Wag The Dog” (1997) [VERY FUNNY FILM ‘WAG THE DOG’ — A MUST SEE, ALSO] was the way he juggled tones, moving from satire to suspense to politics. This time it’s the audience who feels juggled.[I FELT OVERJOYED WHEN CATE JOINED THE TWO AND MADE IT INTO THE COMEDY IT WAS INTENDING TO BE. HOLD OUT FOR A HERO. SHE GETS TWO. YES, THEY ARE BANK ROBBERS BUT RATHER POLITE ONES AT THAT. SEE THE FILM. YOU WILL SEE WHAT I MEAN. Jk the secret keeper]

Bandits three in one

[I LOVE THIS FILM AND HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT FOR ALL THE PERFORMANCES BUT ESPECIALLY CATE BLANCHETT WHO MAKES THIS FILM AND BILLY BOB THORNTON. BRUCE WILLIS IS RATHER SUBTLE AND LAID BACK BUT HE IS SMOOTH. AND TONY GARITY, HE IS JUST PLAIN SILLY BUT WHEN HE NEEDS TO DO WHAT HE NEEDS TO DO HE COMES THROUGH IN SPADES. IF YOU WANT A LIGHT AND HUMOUROUS ROMP THIS IS THE FILM TO SEE. SORRY ROGER, YOU ARE ONE OF THE BEST BUT I DISAGREE WITH YOU IN A GREAT MANY POINTS. BUT IT IS FUN TO JOUST WITH YOU WHEN I DISAGREE.]
Jk the secret keeper honouring but not playing agree b/c Roger Ebert is the champ. I just like to feel his presence when I think about a film and still like to know his opinion, agree or disagree. I vote thumbs up with a 5 star rating for fun and humour. Jk


Bandits Trailers

2 thoughts on “Bandits — The Film

    • You must see RED. It has Bruce Willis and also Helen Mirren, Mary Louise-Parker and Morgan Freeman. He plays a retired spy who has this strange relationship with Mary Louise-Parker over the phone. Eventually, they get together and all hell breaks lose. Helen Mirren is a riot in this film. It is so COOL. You will love it. I hope you are able to see this. I give it 5**** for pure amusement. Came out about 3 yrs ago, A new RED II is due out soon. A sequel. Don’t know much about it yet but looking forward to it. Let me know if and when you see RED. Would like to know what you think. Make sure it is RED without an S at the end. That’s a different film altogether. Good but not the same. Jk 😎

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