Daylight Robbery (2008)
“7 men. 1 bank. 9 minutes. The fuse is lit.”
Director: Paris Leonti
Cast: Geoff Bell, Vas Blackwood, Robert Boulter
Synopsis: lex masterminds an ambitious plan to steal millions of untraceable cash that is stacked in the underground vaults of The London Exchange Bank, waiting for its last journey, Incineration.
Paris Leonti, the director of Daylight Robbery, did himself no favours by slating Guy Ritchie and his ‘plastic gangsters’ when this film was released back in 2008. I’m not a massive fan of Ritchie’s gangster flicks either, but his efforts stand head and shoulders above Leonti’s debut effort and it’s pretty guileless to describe the characters of another’s film as plastic when your own are little more than dead wood wrapped in skin.
The story has a bunch of characters robbing a bank after checking in their baggage for a flight to an overseas world cup match, the plan being that they will rob the bank instead of enjoying a few beers in the bar and be back in the departure lounge in time for take-off. Only one of these characters, a new father whose wife is fed up with him going to football matches, has any kind of back story, and the interplay between them is of such a dull and predictable nature that, not only do you learn nothing substantial about them, you really don’t care what happens to them.
A siege situation develops after the gang have reversed their van into the bank — injuring one of their own in the process — but they are unconcerned because they’ve constructed a tunnel long enough to take them beyond the area cordoned off by the police who are led by a character who is possibly supposed to provide some comic relief. Naturally, things don’t go quite to plan, but you won’t care. You really won’t care. In fact you’ll be surprised at how little you care.
We don’t even get to see their escape fall apart. Their fates are relayed via a news report about the sentences doled out and a few intertitles, meaning there is no satisfactory conclusion to it all.
Kudos to Leonti, he’s managed to get the finance for a movie, assemble a reasonably decent cast and get the thing distributed, and no doubt he’s a hard-working individual who’s passionate about his work. But you get the impression that all he has done here is knit together moments from all his favourite heist movies, which is why it all comes across as so disjointed. No doubt that cheap shot at Ritchie was purely for promotional purposes but, even had his film been superior to Ritchie’s it would have been a dubious tactic, and the fact that his film falls far short of Ritchie’s own debut just makes Leonti look like an opinionated fool.
On a more positive note, Leonti’s direction displays a high level of confidence for a relative novice and his enthusiasm for the subject is obvious. He also manages to draw some decent performances from a cast led by Geoff Bell, a character actor who is always watchable, and somehow manages to manufacture an upbeat feel to what is essentially a downbeat ending.