Canada, 2014, 94 minutes, colour.
Hayden Christensen, Adrien Brody, Jordana Brewster, Tory Kittles.
Directed by Sarik Andreasian.
The title is quite generic, indicating that this is symbolic of American bank robberies – which it may or may not, given the fact that robbery resembles so many over the decades.
This is a Canadian production with an Armenian director, filmed in New Orleans.
Adrien Brody gives quite a powerful performance as a criminal with a hard family background, becoming involved in crime, stealing for the family, involved in a robbery, shooting a policeman, sentenced to 10 years in jail where he was humiliated, the shadow of the man he was, who gets out of jail, feels indebted to those who protected him in jail, going to see his brother after 10 years, great affection for him, and then being forced to be involved in another robbery.
Hayden Christensen, best known as Annikan in the Star Wars prequels, is a rather impassive screen presence, especially in comparison with the Adrien Brody. Jordana Brewster, probably best known from the Fast and Furious series, is Christensen’s girlfriend who works at the police precinct.
Tory Kittles, prominent in television series, but also appearing in the Australian film, The Sapphires, is the ruthless criminal in charge of the robbery (reminiscent in look and style of a younger Denzel Washington).
The film choreographs the robbery with some expertise – but the main focus is on the relationship between the two brothers.
1. An American crime story? American cities, criminal backgrounds, bank robberies, family relationships?
2. Canadian production, American settings, the city, prisons, homes, police precincts, banks, the streets? The musical score?
3. The title, generic? How American this kind of heist? Motivations? Participants?
4. The introduction to Frank, in prison, 10 years, the shower, the tattoos, his belongings, getting out, picked up by his friends, the drinking, the drugs, the women? At the garage, meeting James? The 10 years of absence, his love for James, James and his resentment, being in prison, never seeing his brother? The memories of their father’s death, the mother, her behaviour? The promise of a job, real estate?
5. James, mechanic, the 16 months in prison, the effect? His applying for a loan and being refused? Working on cars, fixing Emily’s? His love for Emily, meeting her again, fixing the car, out with her, the encounter, his saying he had to leave? Her being hurt, going to work, at the police station, taking messages, surveillance?
6. Frank and his friends, the drive to meet them, the police pursuing, James and his expert driving? The friends, their threats, cords James, for Emily?
7. The planning of the robbery, Frank and his wanting to go straight, the memory of shooting the policeman? James and his unwillingness? The leader and his threats?
8. The plan, visualised, James not liking it?
9. The issues of cars, James getting rid of his, picking up others? Frank and his picking up the yellow car and its being ineffectual?
10. The robbery itself, the bank, the customers, the staff, the usual aspects of a robbery, surveillance cameras, collecting money, going to the vault, the shooting of the manager?
11. The plan going wrong, the shooting, the police being informed, the coordination of the police, the machine guns, Frank getting wounded? James coming back in, tending him, reassuring him, brotherly affection, getting the coat from the customer, Frank taking him out as a hostage, his being shot, James and the ambulance, his vest, escaping and walking away?
12. The robbers, the violence, the shooting, in the streets, hedged in, defiance, shot?
13. The open ending, Emily watching it on the cameras screens, James walking away? To what?
14. The film claiming that this is typical of American robberies, executions and motivations?