The Bank

A math whiz and a ruthless banking executive join forces in this slick Australian thriller, which proceeds from the same premise as Darren Aronofsky's PI — that there's a pattern to the stock market's behavior and a sufficiently good mathematician could find it — but uses it to very different ends. Jim Doyle (David Wenham) is working on a computer...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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A math whiz and a ruthless banking executive join forces in this slick Australian thriller, which proceeds from the same premise as Darren Aronofsky's PI — that there's a pattern to the stock market's behavior and a sufficiently good mathematician could find it — but uses it to very different ends. Jim Doyle (David Wenham) is working on a computer program that will predict the movement of the market and Master of the Universe Simon O'Reily (Anthony LaPaglia) wants it for his employer, CentaBank. If the program really works, CentaBank's senior executives could not only position the bank to weather a volatile market, but also enrich themselves exorbitantly and bankrupt the competition. In pursuit of Jim's expertise, Simon offers the standard corporate perks — swank apartment, limo service — plus a team of crack programmers and a state-of-the-art computer system. Meanwhile, Simon is trying to put out a fire that could singe CentaBank's corporate reputation. Rural marina owners Diane and Wayne Davis (Mandy McElhinney, Steve Rodgers) lost their livelihood to CentaBank's tricky loan practices, and their small son drowned shortly after an over-aggressive process server duped the child into accepting a CentaBank foreclosure notice. CentaBank's lawyers aren't worried that the bank can be held legally responsible for the boy's death, but the whole business has a Snidely Whiplash air that could use a PR spin-and-wash, especially since the bankrupt Davises might have a case on the deceptive business practices front. If they were to win in court, hundreds of similar suits would follow. Simon, so bloated with executive smugness he looks ready to explode, is confident he can handle both the discrediting of the Davises and the corruption of Jim's soul. But Jim is burdened with a conscience — can he continue to ignore the use to which his discovery will inevitably be put? Though the script's twists and turns are fairly conventional and the Davis subplot is handled in an awkwardly obvious way, first-time feature filmmaker Robert Connolly understands the power of style. He and cinematographer Tristan Milani construct a visual world in which random disorder constantly resolves itself into patterns, from the swirl of pedestrians on downtown streets to permutations of lit and unlit office-tower windows. In fact, certain images could have been lifted directly from one of Godfrey Reggio's "qatsi" pictures, an impression underscored by Alan John's startlingly Philip Glass-like soundtrack.

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  • Released: 2001
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: A math whiz and a ruthless banking executive join forces in this slick Australian thriller, which proceeds from the same premise as Darren Aronofsky's PI — that there's a pattern to the stock market's behavior and a sufficiently good mathematician cou… (more)

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