An ordinary day in a major bank, a man dressed as a painter walks in and points torches at the CCTV cameras. Seconds later more people dressed as painters burst in and announce their intentions to all inside. As the hostages are professionally moved into a group and made to dress in the same suits as the robbers, the alarm is raised by a passing cop. For Detective Frazier this is just what he needs to help take his mind off accusations of corruption and girlfriend stress. With a by-the-book hostage situation in front of him things look good but internal and external pressures soon convince him that things are not as straightforward as he first thought.
With the trailer offering a great Saturday night, twisty crime thriller, a heavy cast and a strange directorial choice in Lee, this was a film I was hoping would be glossy, slick, silly and fun. However, although I enjoyed it for what it was, I must confess that the lack of consistent direction and pace made it more difficult to get into than I had hoped. It isn’t like this at first, with the film jumping right into a very slick taking of the bank and establishing a professional group of thieves to content with. Bringing in Frazier continues this delivery because he has a good swagger to him and it looked like they would pull off this film. You see, things like this need pace and energy and direction like sharks, they need to keep moving forward or they die; they die by letting the audience question things or move back off the edge of their seat to a vantage point of criticism. With things like Phone Booth, we were never allowed to step back and thus it worked; however here it tries to do other things (to its credit) but these produce an irregular pace, inconsistent tone and tend to take away from the central, gripping action without putting in more than they take out.