Cinema Críticas

Review: Bank Job (2021)

Crítica: Bank Job (2021)


A community heist taking on an unjust financial system

Bank Job is a documentary and activist film that defends the national debt abolition in the United Kingdom, in order to reset to a fairer economic system. To what The Guardian newspaper called “The Rebel Bank”, the Bank Job team, throughout 2018/19, printed and sold their own bank notes, then using the funds to finance local projects and to purchase and abolish local debt.

Meet the Bonnie and Clyde of bad debt!

Daniel Edelstyn and Hilary Powell decided to combine art and economics and through Optimistic Productions comes the documentary part protest performance and part informative, Bank Job, with world premiere at Canada’s 2021 Hot Docs festival. Not to confuse this Bank Job with the 2008 movie The Bank Job, with Jason Statham. Both are about bank heists, but while one is fictional the other is very real.

The concept is quite simple, when we have a privatization control of the economic system and policy by the central banks, which we may also call “creditocracy”, then we enter in a process of financial concentration and in a corporate totalitarian state. Ok, maybe it’s not that crystal clear, but that’s exactly what Daniel Edelstyn and Hilary Powell intend to show in the Bank Job, that the system is purposefully made complex and obscured, so that few can understand it, and most get lost in it. Briefly, when 85% of the politicians do not know how money is produced, and when a large part of the population needs credit just to survive, that is a signal that we have a big problem and that the lines of morality and hypocrisy are very blurred. Despite this, the final message of the documentary is positive, since it shows that if we know how the financial system works, we can then use it to satisfy the needs of the many and not just the privileged few. And previous cases, mainly in the USA, like the recent WallStreetBets (involving the Reddit community and Gamespot) prove that the goal of a community heist is far from a fantasy, but rather quite possible.

It’s like the Wizard of Oz; you can see what lies behind the curtain

Bank Job is an important and relevant film, even more so when we are facing an economic crisis caused by the current pandemic, which we hope will have the recognition it deserves. It is a work that mixes personal dedication, activism, art and information to the masses. Despite the serious and complex theme, the communication is done in a creative way in order not to lose interest. With the use of comedy, infographics and reports from experts, the formula used in the documentary guarantees entertainment, information and credibility.

Regarding the less positive aspects of Bank Job, we emphasize the way the film ends abruptly, leaving an unfinished narrative and without the “big heist” that was promised from the beginning. The documentary would also gain, in terms of clarity, if a summary scene of the entire financial was to be used and credit functioning scheme discussed throughout the narrative. Moreover, the use of too many behind the scenes gives an occasional feeling that we are watching the making of of the documentary and not the final product.

Bank Job is a documentary with good intentions that rides into the darkness of the financial system. Although very informative and using a light and comical tone, it ends up not being as enlightening as it should be, since the plot thread is somewhat lost due to excessive behind the scenes footage and, most unfortunately, it disappoints the public for not completing the message that it set out to show from the beginning.

CineAddiction will have film festival reviews written in English to respect and endorse the festival norms. The Portuguese version will arrive later and will be featured in our social media. 

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Original Title: Bank Job

Director: Daniel EdelstynHilary Powell

Runtime: 87 min

Trailer | Bank Job

BANK JOB TRAILER from Daniel Edelstyn on Vimeo.