Smut, censorship & conspiracy! "The Bank Job" is a pretty good action movie

Yeah it kind of surprised me, but "The Bank Job" (IMDB) is worth seeing if you want a reasonably good action movie: it seems more interested in establishment British deviant behavior, blackmail, censorship and MI-5 covert political management than the heist itself.

Well that's not quite true - the heist takes its fair share of time, but the characters' motivations revolve around the notion that the array of Lloyd's safe-deposit boxes contain tons of destabilizing dirty secrets: Mainly dirty photos of Labor politicians in S&M clubs, a randy royal princess, etc. The heavies in MI-5 want to bring down Michael X, a black radical thug/revolutionary who is holding blackmail photos of said bad princess, and they get a foxy babe to trick Jason Statham's character into robbing the safe deposit vault where the photo resides.

A corrupt angle unravels... and it's funny that both this movie and 2007's "Cleaner" with Samuel L. Jackson (IMDB) revolve a bit around ledgers of corrupt police payoffs. (I also caught that one recently. Jackson was good, it was also a corruption/cleanup thriller, and worked well intermittently, though the ending seemed pretty pat.)

The true story of the real bank job certainly involved the classic British government news suppression order known as a "D Notice," which killed all news coverage within three days. The robbers themselves are a bit crestfallen, then frightened, when their story abruptly gets dropped from the British tabloids.... The UK Telegraph adds some background: Revisiting the riddle of Baker Street - Telegraph Revisiting the riddle of Baker Street:

"Obviously, we've changed the names," says Clement, "and large parts of our story are invented - they have to be, because no one knows the exact details. All we could rely on what was George McIndoe told us." And what George McIndoe told them - whether truth or fiction - is quite remarkable. He claimed that "Terry" and his walkie-talkie gang, as they became known, had found sexually compromising photographs of Princess Margaret inside one of the deposit boxes.

'The idea of the photographs was based on a direct conversation I had with George," explains Clement. "He told me the story, but obviously I can't prove that it's true." Indeed, the real ham radio operator, Robert Rowlands, has spoken out against the film's insinuation. "The film is an amusing series of misconceptions, dragging in royalty," he says. "I am in touch with the princess's solicitors."

In the film, these photographs are placed in the possession of a shady, real-life character called Michael X, a slum landlord and pimp who tried to present himself as a British version of the activist Malcolm X. His ownership of the pictures bestowed upon him a "get out of jail free card", whereby the courts overlooked his criminal activity.

After in-depth discussions with McIndoe, Clement and Le Frenais suggested in their story that the robbery was masterminded by MI5, which was eager to get its hands on the photos and thereby neutralise Michael X's threat.

"That is all conjecture," continues Clement, "but certainly the Caribbean connection [to Princess Margaret] is a fairly obvious one. And while we've become so used to royal scandals since then, in 1971 it would have been a much bigger deal. There was a lot of sensitivity because of the Christine Keeler affair and they didn't want another scandal dancing around like that.

"That's the theory, anyway. But what is curious is that I have seen something that says that Michael X's file is buried until 2054, which is extraordinary. I mean, what the hell he had that was keeping him out of jail, and which was so important that they don't want it known about for another 50 years - well, it boggles the mind. Even if it was photographs of the Royal Family, you'd have thought that that wouldn't have had such a long after-life."

True to smutty tab form, the Daily Mail has the actual HAM radio recordings of the bank robbers - it's kind of fun to hear the actual audio, though much of it is quite fuzzy. FOUND: Radio Ham's sensational tape of the bank heist 'that rescued compromising pictures of Princess Margaret' | Mail Online

Here's the HAM radio clip.

My favorite characters were the totally amoral kinky British establishment bastards, who would stop at nothing to recover their photos, stage crimes, and put themselves into highly blackmailable situations. SPOILER: The whole media gets suppressed, Statham's character cleverly slips the establishment setup-patsy noose, and ends up rich and happy. Lulz.

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