‘The Bank Job’ is a heist thriller written by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, starring Jason Statham as Terry, a London car dealer. Terry is an ambitious person looking to rev up his business. One fine day, Martine Love, an ex-model and Terry’s neighbor, comes to him with a plan of stealing cash from a London bank. Sensing an opportunity to settle down once and for all, Terry agrees to the job and assembles a crew using his connections. What they don’t know is that Martine’s main motive is to get hold of a safety deposit belonging to Michael X, a Trinidadian gangster and political activist.
The deposit box contains a secret that can rattle the British monarchy. A well-crafted thriller, ‘The Bank Job’ is inspired by the 1971 Lloyds Bank Robbery on Baker Street, London. The heist, allegedly inspired by a Sherlock Holmes’ story, proved to be one the biggest scandals and sources of conspiracy in British history. The film gives an authentic feel to the story due to its vivid recreation of the 1970s. We looked further through the details, and here’s what we have gathered. SPOILERS AHEAD.
The Bank Job Plot Synopsis
The British intelligence agency, MI5, is looking for the safety deposit box of Michael X, a political activist and a drug dealer, lodged inside the vaults of Lloyds Bank in London. The box supposedly contains some suggestive photographs of Princess Margaret, which can be used as a bargaining chip by Michael to avoid persecution at the hands of law officials. Martine Love, an ex-model, is caught smuggling drugs into England, and as a way out from jail, agrees to retrieve the safety deposit box for the agency.
She approaches Terry, a local car dealer, with a plan of breaking into the Lloyd Bank and steal valuables and cash. In it for the money, Terry agrees and puts a team together to execute the job. They rent a leather goods shop near the location and tunnels their way into the Lloyds Bank. In their quest, they converse with the help of walkie-talkies. Terry manages to execute the plan accordingly, even in front of impending police arrival.
To Teddy’s surprise, the robbery shakes up some big names, notably Michael X and a pornographer named Lew Vogel, who is in cahoots with the gangster. The gangster’s men catch up to the robbers in no time, wherein Terry finds himself in possession of information that can help him secure a safe passage. The ensuing mayhem is replete with thrills and certain revelations that make ‘The Bank Job’ a fascinating watch.
The Bank Job Ending: What Happened to the Real Culprits?
It is indicated in the end that Vogel’s ledger containing the name of police officials on pay-roll triggers a massive purge in the ranks of the Scotland Yard. Several high-ranking officials resign due to the nature of the allegations. Michael X is captured and hanged for Gale’s murder, who is apparently an MI5 agent. The other people involved with Michael are arrested or killed, and none of the safety box owners claim their losses. In actuality, Michael X was hanged on the charges of killing a member of his commune and not Gale. (Although he was charged with her murder, he was never tried for it).
The fact that Gale was an MI5 agent, as shown in the film, is not substantiated with concrete evidence to this day. Princess Margaret’s photograph in Michael X’s vault is also debatable, which has been the source of numerous speculative theories. The film, however, tries to establish that MI5 had been the mastermind behind the heist. Based on their sources, the writers of the film decided to tell this aspect of the story.
But due to the extent of the scandal, the real truth was hidden under a gag order in 1971 that stopped the circulation of its information in media outlets. We are made to believe in the theories that are propagated in the film, but on careful examination, we see the facts are shrouded in ambiguity. The corruption scandal that the robbery set off was quite right in its semblance with real happenings. Some of the robbery’s real perpetrators were captured, but there is still a certain level of intrigue associated with the case.
When the dust settled, it was ascertained that Anthony Gavin, a career criminal, had orchestrated the entire ordeal. Benjamin Wolfe was the one who had signed the lease to Le Sac, a leather goods shop merely a few feet away from the bank. By the end, Reg Tucker and Thomas Stephens were also named as conspirators. While Wolfe received a sentence of 8 years, the others were to be jailed for 12 years. Although officials (unsuccessfully) searched for other members of the gang (including a woman), these four were the ones who ultimately paid the price.
Why Does Terry Send Kevin to the Police?
When Terry understands the robbery’s real motive, he is flabbergasted at the dangerous situation he faces. Terry’s own connections and his long hustle in the London underbelly make him a good judge of character, especially cops. He is aware of the biting corruption, and the information received from the ledger makes it easier for Terry to navigate his way.
Upon sensing that Vogel and his men will be difficult to handle, he sends Kevin to the police, especially to Roy Given, whom Terry knows to be upright in his ways. A page from the ledger serves as the proof of authenticity through which Terry can back his claims of possessing information critical to national security. His clever idea enables him to gain leverage over Vogel, as the risk of being exposed is far too great for the pornographer. Eventually, Terry is caught but is let go of by Roy Given because of his witty negotiations.
What Happens to Martine?
Martine’s romantic relationship with the MI5 agent proves detrimental as she is made to be a scapegoat if something goes wrong in the elaborate heist. In actuality, there is no existence of a woman handler in the real-life Lloyd Bank heist. Martine’s character was created based on the transcripts of the thieves’ conversation recorded over walkie-talkies. According to the director, a woman’s voice heard on the recordings was the basis of the character.
Martine’s character is influential in interweaving the presence of MI5 in the elaborate act and serves as a plot element to hold the heist together. She recruits Terry but doesn’t tell him about the real motive. Martine’s interest in a particular safety box piques Terry’s curiosity, who later uncovers the truth to use it to his advantage. Martine serves as the connecting link between the real-life crime and the implications deduced by the film’s writers. In the end, she is able to settle down with her share of the loot. Even though the mastermind may be different, the heist and the narrative is coordinated by Martine herself.
Read More: Where Was The Bank Job Filmed?