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BANDITS

SYNOPSIS:
Joe Blake (Bruce Willis) and Terry Collins (Billy Bob Thornton) are bank robbers on the run, aiming to accumulate enough wealth so they can retire in Mexico. They acquire notoriety as "the sleep-over bandits" through their unconventional methods of holding the bank manager and his family hostage the night before a robbery and visiting the bank before business hours the following day without the need to break in. But complications arise when they (literally) run into Kate Wheeler (Cate Blanchett), a neglected housewife on the edge, and both fall in love with her.

Review by Louise Keller:
Wickedly quirky and oozing with charm, Bandits is a gloriously entertaining heist comedy with an irresistible cast. Barry Levinson stirs the mixing pot deftly; an imaginative script, beautifully shot with a toe-tapping soundtrack filled with lively rhythms. The handling of the mix of comedy and caper is a little reminiscent of Steven Soderbergh's Out of Sight with a thematic reminder of Butch Cassidy. But Bandits is an original. The notions are as eccentric as the characters; there's nothing ordinary or conventional about these sleep-over bandits, who stumble from one hilarious misadventure to another. The cast is the glue, and Willis, Thornton and Blanchett are magic together. Willis' Joe is a charmer, a dashing rogue, who makes decisions on the run and could use a dose of anger management. Thornton's Terry is a thoughtful, obsessive compulsive hypochondriac with allergies, phobias and ears that ring. Together, they meld to become Kate's 'perfect man'. And both are superb. Blanchett is simply divine as the repressed, disillusioned housewife, whose neglectful husband has pushed her to extremes. With her halo of flame-coloured hair, Blanchett's vibrant, mesmerising performance offers a huge range – from uninhibited exhibitionism to emotional delicacy. You will not easily forget Blanchett belting out Bonnie Tyler's songs, using the kitchen tap as a microphone or singing through a make-shift curtain separating sleeping arrangements between Joe and Kate. She steals our hearts, as readily as she steals those belonging to the irrepressible bandits. The comedy is played out beautifully, and some of the wigs and costumes are quite a hoot. There are so many delicious moments, and by the time the final twist plays itself out, I honestly didn't want the film to end. Bandits is a zany, nonsensical and totally compelling bounty.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Lie back in your seat and relax; this is a fantasy intended for escape. It’s full of those contrived essences like the ones you can buy for cakes: vanilla, orange, etc. You can tell they’re fake because you get sick of them after a while. I don’t mean to be too harsh, because I actually enjoyed Bandits, it’s just that you have to park your mind with your car outside. Undemanding, that’s what it is. But what’s wrong with that? Well, as long as you don’t expect nuthin else, nuthin. Cate Blanchett IS very good, as are her male co-stars, of course. They’re stars. Your enjoyment will be spotty, though, if you expect Billy Bob to be his intelligentest. He’s in B grade country, and I don’t mean that as a derogatory – it’s just the type of film you can expect. Nice premise, lots of good business from the actors – in that underplayed kind of quirky that sits well with stars – and some excellent camerawork make this an amusing …. OK, funny, bit of nonsense. The best part is the dramatic grounding that Cate Blanchett brings to her distraught housewife, and the way she makes us believe her in all she does. Yes, she saves the film.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

MAKING BANDITS TRAILER

BANDITS (M)
(US)

CAST: Bruce Willis, Cate Blanchett, Billy Bob Thornton, Troy Garity, January Jones

DIRECTOR: Barry Levinson

PRODUCER: Ashok Amritraj, Michael Berk, Michael Birnbaum, David Hoberman, Barry Levinson, Paula Weinstein

SCRIPT: Harley Peyton

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Dante Spinotti

EDITOR: Stu Linder

MUSIC: Christopher Young

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Victor Kempster

RUNNING TIME: 121 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Fox

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 21, 2002







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