Retro Review: Bandits

A perfect friendship, a life of crime and uncomplicated success are the three things that bank-robbers Joe (Bruce Willis) and Terry (Billy Bob Thorton) have achieved.

One fateful day, Kate (Cate Blanchett), a stressed out unsatisfied housewife accidentally hits Terry with her car and the thieves’ perfect lives of crime seem to get a little more complicated.

With the FBI, cops and a television show following their every move it seems to be most unlikely time for romance but tell that to Terry and Joe.

“Bandits” is a cleverly written and often hilarious crime-adventure movie that really allows Thorton and Blanchett to shine. Directed by Barry Levinson, “Bandits” is finely crafted but does feel a little long at times.

What Levinson has done to alleviate the length is to inject some really hilarious and well-timed humor.

He has made Thorton’s character a hypochondriac and Blanchett into a woman bond and determined to find a way to escape her imprisoning house-life. Willis is the basic straight man that emulates a lot of the characters that he has played in other films.

You will fall in love with the quirkiness of Thorton and his performance is a delight to behold. He overshadows and dominates Willis with cleverness and it’s a shame the twosome seems so lopsided.

I loved Blanchett and her new “fire-engine-red” hair but it’s the performance beneath those beautiful locks that makes her a formidable obstacle for the thieves.

The largest fault of the film is the movie’s foreshadowing and layout. First off it definitely shows it’s to long and probably needed another editing.

Secondly, the film opens with the end of the movie and then flashes back to how they got there. This technique may appear clever but this time it’s a little annoying and probably unnecessary.

The way Levinson handles this technique and when to abandon it is almost amateur. I was sadly disappointed at this angle of the film. Levinson probably should have forgotten about the television show angle all together.

Finally, I think the film needed to focus less on the love-triangle and more on the pursuit to keep the audience sound. What it maybe should have done is fleshed out more of the Joe and added a challenging pursuer instead of a TV show.

(3.5 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer.

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