Bandits Movie Review
Bruce Willis takes a comedic turn in Bandits, Barry Levinson's latest film about a couple of bank robbers who kidnap the bank's manager the night before. Billy Bob Thornton and Cate Blanchett also star, and help Willis deliver a fairly funny and entertaining movie.
Bandits is not an excellent movie. Really, it doesn't have a great script and it's not the prettiest to watch. Nevertheless, the strong cast holds the movie together like superglue, and give it their all to make an enjoyable movie to watch on a Friday night. The dialogue isn't really that funny, but when you have Billy Bob Thornton spitting out dumb lines left and right, it's hard not to laugh. Willis, of course, plays the more serious, more suave bandit, but the way he throws out sarcastic comments make even the driest of lines sound colorful. I really can't say much about Cate Blanchett, since her character basically adds a pointless subplot to the film and she really isn't that entertaining to watch anyway.
The biggest problem with Bandits is its length. The box said that the film was only a little over two hours, but I think I clocked it at about two hours and twenty minutes. It was too long. The comedy is intermixed with some slow parts, but the slow parts get longer and longer as the movie nears the end. The last half hour, with exception to the actual climax, is pretty bland. Also, by the time I got to that point, it was one in the morning, and I just wanted things to end. Eventually, Bandits does reach a climax, and it is very clever entertaining, but by that point many people will be too bored to care.
The only other problem with the movie is the directorial approach. I don't think Levinson was quite sure as to whether he wanted a comedy or a drama, because the movie has elements of both. Obviously, the comical side works a lot better, and the dramatic pieces just bog the movie down. A good half hour could have been sliced off the running time and nothing would have been lost. Also, Levinson decided to show us the ending (the final bank robbery) at the beginning of the film, and mix in little scenes throughout. Big mistake. The movie is a comedy... just start it at the beginning and finish it at the end. The flashbacks (or look-aheads) don't really do anything for the picture, except mess up its pace.
Bandits is a fun movie to watch at the two male leads do a good job, but it definitely is flawed and could have been better.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.