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By Vicky Dimitrakopoulos | December 22, 2001

“The Bank” taps into the widespread anger regarding the foreclosure and loss of hundreds of businesses and thousands of jobs during the last decade in Australia. While “The Bank” claims to be an exposure of the world of banking, it fails to shed any light on it’s subject matter and trivialises a range of serious issues. Set in Melbourne, Australia, the film’s main protagonists are Simon O’Reilly (LaPaglia), a ruthless and aggressive Centabank CEO, and Jim Doyle (Wenham), a genius mathematician working on a computer program called Betsy that can predict stockmarket fluctuations and crashes. O’Reilly, who has been told that he will be sacked unless the bank’s profits are rapidly improved, believes that Doyle’s software can solve the bank’s problems and his own future.
“The Bank” also has a sub-plot involving Wayne (Rodgers) and Diane (McElhinney), a married couple whose lives are turned upside down by Centabank’s foreign currency loan scheme. In addition, Connolly also provides a romantic attachment for Doyle, who becomes involved with Michelle (Sybilla Budd), a teller at Centabank.
The film creates some mild excitement within the context of its genre with a build-up of tension, however fails to captivate and arouse the audience’s attention amply. Although LaPaglia, Wenham and the rest of the cast do what they can with the script, their characters, nonetheless, are crudely stereotypical. O’Reilly, in particular, is just too dark and slick as the CEO not to mention corrupt, predatory and greedy sounds like a few of our politicians and his reactions entirely predictable. Doyle, the math guru, is rather too smooth and untroubled, and his relationship with the attractive Michelle, which is supposed to be a deep one, is unconvincing and no real indication given that the couple has anything in common intellectually like several couples I know. Connolly, who has said that he was concerned how the banks have turned the lives of thousands of ordinary people upside down, says “We wanted to have fun at the banks’ expense.” Such an approach, of course, is completely permissible unfortunately “The Bank” is neither a stimulating satire nor a serious exposure of the operations of the finance industry.

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