Bandits (2001) / Comedy-Drama
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for some sexual content, language and violence
Running Time: 123 min.
Cast: Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, Cate Blanchett, Troy Garity, Brian F. O'Byrne, January Jones
Director: Barry Levinson
Screenplay: Harley Peyton
Review published October 14, 2001
Bandits is one of those films that doesn't really have anything really bad about it, yet for some reason it doesn't really score a lot of points in the excitement department either. While the script is terrific, the actors well cast, the direction unfaltering, and the music perfection, the real question is why in the world failed to satisfy fully?
Let's examine the story. The country's most successful bank robbers history are the Sleepover Bandits, so-called because they employ the technique of finding the bank manager the night before they are to rob the bank, hold his/her family hostage while eating dinner and sleeping over so they can all go together to the bank the next day and get the money. Things go along smoothly until the men kidnap a bored housewife with which they soon form a love triangle that causes conflicts a loss of focus.
Losing focus may more aptly be applied to this film in its entirety. Yes, it's a funny comedy, an interesting romance, and a smart crime-caper film, but at the same time it is none of those three. I know this sounds like a paradox, but I say this merely to show that the film shifts from genre to genre without developing within any one of them fully enough to bear the fruits of all its labor. Had Bandits been about any one of these predominantly, perhaps it might have been far more gripping than it ever really is, and one can only think that the lackadaisical style of the film may have been the result of boredom from the stars and director, all of whom are know for doing far more exciting vehicles.
Still, just enough oomph is given to provide a marginal diversion for people who are looking more something light and interesting. Bandits is entertaining enough to watch, but not strong enough to remember long afterward.
©2001 Vince Leo