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- How old exactly is Arthur Case supposed to be? Based on what he says, he was already a successful banker during the Nazi era, which would mean he had to be at least in his 30s back then (it's hard to imagine anyone younger being a successful banker in the 1940s). But the movie takes place in 2005 or 2006 ("Gold Digger" was released in 2005), which would mean he has to be over 90 years old. He certainly doesn't look that old. Christopher Plummer was born in 1929, and he was only 15 when WWII ended. They should've chosen an older actor if they'd wanted that part of the story to feel credible.
- He's stated to have been quite young. He may only have been a bank employee. And people did start working at a younger age back then.
- Case says "It was 60 years ago. I was young and ambitious. I saw a short path to success to success and I took it. I sold my soul and I've been trying to buy it back ever since." He could have been a teenager or in his twenties, since he states that what was in the safety deposit box was along with a document, a ring and some diamonds from Jewish concentration camp victims. Which he then stole and sold to the highest bidder. Thievery doesn't require age or experience, and the Jewish "friends" could have been friends of his parents if he was a young man.
- It's not uncommon for actors to play characters older than the actors are themselves, and once people get to be the age Plummer is, it's simple enough to believe the character could be a few years older. Remember, Sean Connery's only a few years older than Harrison Ford, yet they played father and son in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
Identifying the woman robber
- Correct me if I'm making any mistakes here, but I'm curious about something: the cops know that there are only two women who could fit the description of one of the robbers, right? So how hard would it be for them to monitor both until one of them makes a mistake and reveals their true nature? Would it be illegal? Take up too much resources? I don't get it...
- Da Chief said to drop the case. No budget for surveillance. Also, eyewitness testimony isn't the most reliable source, and "she had big boobs", as Stevie herself pointed out, is a pretty flimsy reason for surveillance.
- Fair enough, but the nonchalant way the whole is dealt with by the authorities is beyond ridiculous; just because there's been no apparent propriety crime doesn't mean a crime hasn't happened, the poor hostages are most certainly going to suffer from the effects of the crime for years to come. And no pressure either? Hell, the media would be hounding them night and day to solve this case, unless they could be bought too (which isn't implausible in the world as it is shown in this movie... but it's a far cry from real life).
- Nobody was hounding anybody, Da Chief said "Nobody's breathing down my neck to come up with answers, I'm not gonna breathe down yours.", and "absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence" is not a good enough justification for spending limited police resources on a fruitless case (not to mention unethical).
- Not really a case of the media being bought off, but chasing bigger fish. Remember, all due to a theatrical bank robbery that didn't actually happen, by design, one of the most powerful people in New York City's high society is about to be outed as a former Nazi collaborator. The media would be having a field day with Case's connections and probably laud Dalton's team akin to Robin Hood. With no leads and pressure from Madeleine White's contacts to wrap things up, I highly doubt there will be much push to keep the case open. As for the hostages, they won't forget, but they probably are either thankful to have survived or just as amazed as anybody what really happened.
- Another plot hole regarding the identity of the female robber is that her physical appearance is a huge liability for the plan. It is distinct enough that if another large breasted brunette hadn't happen to coincidentally been in the bank that day, the female robber could've easily been identified by the other hostages regardless of their misdirection tricks on that regard. Unless the other large breasted brunette was a plant (which the movie in no way implies) they took a huge risk by making the large breasted thief participate in the heist.
- When has any woman ever been successfully identified as a perpetrator of a crime based on a description of her cup size as attested to by a single questionable eyewitness?
- They have the eye witness testimony of all the hostages, not just the creep who noticed her in the bank line. And if large breast size is a characteristic possessed by a single individual inside the bank, identification would be possible.
- Except it wouldn't be possible, as Detective Frazier said, "Even if we considered someone as a possible suspect, there's one or two or three other people that would rule them out." In other words, the testimony of the witnesses would not be consistent enough to finger anyone (people tend to not remember clearly in situations of extreme trauma), let alone on something as laughably flimsy as a woman's cup size (particularly when the police can't rule out the possibility that some of these witnesses might be the robbers lying in order to shift suspicion off themselves).
- FWIW the witness in question says that the woman has "great tits", not that they're necessarily large, and that is far from sufficient probable cause for any kind of surveillance or warrant. She might have an impressive bust, but no judge would accept a witness's appreciation of a woman's breasts by itself as reason to put her under surveillance, especially not under that highly subjective phrasing. And I can imagine that the police and the district attorney might be a bit wary of the possible PR implications of placing a woman under investigation based purely on an appreciation of her bust size. As for whether this compromises the robbers... she might have fairly large breasts, but they are hardly so improbably or uniquely large that the chances of more than one woman with a roughly similar bust size being present in the area is completely beyond the realm of the possible.
This the best way to retaliate
- If they wanted to get revenge on Case, why didn't they just come up behind him and hit him with a rock or something? Instead, Russell comes up with this incredibly complicated plot that involves taking dozens of hostages for what is apparently more than a day. Those people are never going to be OK. PTSD is a bitch. They won't be able to sleep properly for months. They'll have nightmares for the rest of their lives. Owen's character should DIAF.
- He didn't want revenge, he wanted the perfect bank robbery, and to be able to look himself in the mirror. Stealing from innocents? Nope. Stealing from a war criminal? Yep.
- Plus, while PTSD nightmares are certainly horrible, being dead is a heck of a lot worse. Dalton might be a bit of a bastard, but as ruthless criminals go there's a hell of a lot worse out there. Such as the man he stole from.
- Dalton's crew didn't want Case dead. Their goal was to out him as a Nazi collaborator, and that they could only achieve by breaking into his deposit box.
Bin Laden's nephew in Manhattan?
- Is Madeleine White supposed to be a bad guy for helping Osama bin Laden's nephew buy a condo? bin Laden has a huge family (he is the youngest of twenty-three children, he might easily have a hundred nephews). Probably most of them think Osama is (was) a waste of oxygen. Why shouldn't Foster help one buy a home, for crying out loud?
- Ummmmm, wasn't that a joke?
- Keep in mind that this film was set four years after 9/11, so a relative of bin Laden's buying property in New York would probably face massive media attention and drawn the ire of the general public without someone to smooth things over. Even ten years after the movie came out, some people are still sour about the myth that Saudi Royals/Bin Laden family members were flown out of the country right after 9/11, now try to imagine how they would have felt about the Bin Laden family buying property in New York around 2005/6. Even the nephew's reassurances about not having seen his uncle in nine years puts the timing a little close to when Osama started ramping up his anti-USA attacks, with stuff like the bombing of the US embassy in Kenya. And lastly there is simple guilt by association and such. If you don't think emotions and prejudice could take over in that situation, imagine how a Wermacht officer trying to move to Israel in the 1950s or 60s would have gone down...
The speech recordings
- The cops bug the criminals and get a recording that is obviously a political speech. Instead of saying "Ah, the criminals have outfoxed us" they decide to play it to the assembled crowd. Gee, what a shock: out of the 100 people in New York who could recognize spoken Albanian, one of them just happens to be the guy standing closest to the police command truck. But, sadly, that guy only recognizes the language, he can't speak it and like the cops is too stupid to guess that it's the world's only famous Albanian speaker, Enver Hoxha (I guessed it, BTW, and I don't speak a word of the language). So what do they do? The obvious thing, and call the Department of Slavic Languages at Columbia University and ask them to get a Albanian-speaking graduate student on the phone? No, they get the Albanian-recognizing dumb guy to have his skanky Albanian ex-wife to drive over through mid-town traffic — because hey, it's not like there's an emergency and they're in a hurry — and she insists on a bribe. Rather than just pointing out they will charge her with obstruction, criminal facilitation, or whatever if she doesn't help and deporting her back to Albania, the cops pay her the bribe so she can tell them "Ah, the criminals have outfoxed you — they're just play a tape of an old political speech."
- They don't have time to call her bluff, and she has no real obligation to help them. I'm not sure she could legally be charged with diddly.
- Albanian is not a Slavic language, but if you hear a few words and put it in google you can get to Enver Hoxha in 3 clicks. I tried.
- Good luck getting that weirdass orthography on the first try!
- Plus, to be fair, it's not as if Enver Hoxha is exactly a household name in the West; how many non-Albanian people these days would be familiar with the voice of an Albanian communist leader who died in 1985?
- Only a historical knowledge geek, the likes of which who appears on Jeopardy, would know that that was Enver Hoxha. Let alone know who Enver Hoxha EVEN IS! I'm willing to bet that 1 out of 15 Americans have never heard of him. And I'd guess that at least 1 out of 10 couldn't recognize Albanian if they heard it. If asked they'd probably assume it's some kind of Russian or German. To assume someone would be "stupid" for not knowing that is very irrational.
Alternate strategies for Mr. Case
- If I was Arthur Case, the first thing I'd do once the bank reopened for business is check on (and remove) the contents of my safety deposit box. Instead, he leaves it to be discovered by the cops.
- Running down to check it would be suspicious, and if it had been removed, there was nothing he could do.
- Why would it be suspicious to visit his own bank? It's certainly no more suspicious than what he *did* do. And yes, if it had been removed there was nothing he could have done — but it *wasn't* removed, and if he had collected the ring before Frazier had a chance to figure things out, there would have been no smoking gun. After all the trouble he went to trying to make sure no one discovered his secret, he just walks away?
- Possibly because he was assured by Madeleine White that all the contents were destroyed. He probably also wasn't expecting that the police would search that specific box.
Keeping incriminating evidence
- Why, after World War II broke out and it became clear that the Nazis were going to lose, would Arthur Case continue to hold on to evidence of his collaboration with them? If he'd just burned the documents, sold the diamonds one at a time over several years (or even decades), removed the diamond from the ring and sold that as well, and melted the band down for bullion, any evidence of his crimes would be gone, and he'd be in the clears.
- Hubris. It's common among the rich and powerful. (Just look at any politician who goes down in scandal for something they could easily have concealed if they'd only thought they actually needed to. Or look at any corporate executive who makes a disastrous decision that was obviously stupid in retrospect.) Perhaps he would go and take out the ring and look at it as a reminder that he had never been caught. Perhaps it was meant to remind him of what he had to repent for. Perhaps he secretly wanted to be caught. There are plenty of reasons.
- Could be a combination of The Atoner and Even Evil Has Standards- he is too afraid to give it to a Holocaust museum or whatever in case it gets traced back to him, but he doesn't want to destroy or sell it because that seems like an especially dick move under the circumstances even for him, and he does claim to be genuinely sorry for what he did.
Dropping the Case?
- This isn't unique to just this movie; just the idea that the police will drop an investigation into a crime staged to look worse than it actually is by actually committing a serious crime in the process bugs me. Officially, they did not rob anything (except for something that the owner really, really should not have had in the first place), therefore there is nothing worth investigating...which overlooks the fact that they TOOK AN ENTIRE BANK HOSTAGE AND PUT THE CITY ON LOCKDOWN. Even if they HADN'T stolen anything, I doubt the police or anyone else would be happy to just let this laundry list of yet-more-serious charges slides; at worst, this was an extremely dangerous and elaborate prank, and at best they are political extremists. It's entirely possible someone could actually have died (if a hostage tried to be a hero, if they suffered a heart attack, if the police got too trigger happy, if some other serious crime was committed while the police were distracted...so many things could have happened here). Doesn't matter how difficult it supposedly is to crack- if this sh*t actually happened in Real Life, there would be hell to pay for the perpetrators even IF Case was exposed.