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Film / How to Rob a Bank

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How to Rob a Bank (and 10 Tips to Actually Get Away with It) is an American independent film, with as its subtitle. It finished filming in March 2006 and premiered May 20, 2007 at the Cannes Film Market.

Young slacker Jason "Jinx" Taylor (Nick Stahl) enters a bank to complain about its ATM fees just as Simon (Gavin Rossdale) and his gunmen enter the bank to rob it. Jinx ends up inside the vault with employee Jessica (Erika Christensen), besieged by the thieves who are themselves besieged by the police on the street. But, when Jinx is contacted on his cellphone by the mastermind of the heist, Nick (David Carradine), the irate ATM customer sees a way to outwit the robbers, the law and the bank.

This film provides examples of:

  • Bank Robbery: Jason accidentally walks into the middle of of a bank robbery being conducted by Simon and his gang and immediately becomes the Spanner in the Works.
  • Bound and Gagged: Jessica starts the film taped to a chair and screaming abuse at Jason. He then tapes her mouth shut till she agrees to behave. This pattern repeats itself several times over the course of the film.
  • The Caper: Jinx gets caught in the middle of a Bank Robbery that turns out to be far more complicated than a simple grab for cash.
  • Caught Up in a Robbery: The slacker protagonist Jason enters a bank to complain about ATM fees just as it begins to be robbed and becomes a Spanner in the Works for the armed robbers plans because he locks himself in the banks vault along with a bank teller, who is really the robbers' computer expert.
  • Convenient Misfire: When Jason accidentally barges into the middle of the Bank Robbery, Roger jams his gun in Jason's face and pulls the trigger, only for the gun to jam. This becomes a Running Gag, and Roger is constantly disassembling and reassembling his gun over the course of the movie as he tries to work out why it keeps jamming.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: When Jason is released from the vault and sees Simon face-to-face for the first time, his first words are:
    "I imagined you taller."
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Simon has some severe anger management issues and keeps popping anti-psychotics.
  • Hostage Situation: The film starts with Jason seemingly holding Jessica hostage inside the bank vault. However, as things progress, it quickly becomes apparent that Jessica, and not Jason, who is the one robbing the bank. Meanwhile, outside the vault, Simon and Roger are holding the staff and customers hostage as armed police surround the building.
  • In Medias Res: Opens with Jason holding Jessica hostage inside the locked bank vault and delivering a long rant about fees and surcharges. It is some time before the full story of how this came to pass is revealed.
  • Interrogation by Vandalism: Jason regains control of Jessica, and manages to coerce a few answers out of her, by threatening to smash her PDA, which holds the codes she needs for opening the safety deposit boxes.
  • Jar Potty: Trapped in the vault for several hours, Jason pees into one of the safety deposit boxes.
  • Letting Her Hair Down: Jessica removes her black wig once she knows her cover is thoroughly blown. Under it, her naturally brown hair is pinned up to allow her to wear the wig over it. When the power to the vault is turned off, she lets her hair down, showing how at ease with Jason she now is.
  • Locked in a Freezer: Jason and Jessica spend almost the entirety of the film locked in a bank vault. Although the danger of suffocation is not mentioned (although presumably it would become an issue if the siege went on long enough), attempting to leave is liable to get them shot by either the armed criminals inside the bank or the armed police outside it
  • Mistaken for Racist: Jason is talking to negotiator Officer DeGepse, he mentions not liking being surrounded by 'armed assholes' then realises that DeGepse might think he means the police and adds "I don't mean you people". This is followed by a long silence from DeGepse, who is black. Sensing something is wrong, Jason says "You're not black or something, are you?". Fortunately for Jason, Jessica takes the phone from him and explains the situation to DeGepse.
  • Penny Shaving: Nick's ultimate goal is to gain access funds which have been skimmed by the bank from fees over the course of years in the form of nickels and dimes that no one ever checks on their statements.
  • Shy Bladder: Locked in the bank vault, Jason cannot pee, even when Jessica says that she won't watch him. She takes pity on him and opens a safety deposit box for him to pee into, which seems to solve the problem.
  • Spanner in the Works: Simon's carefully planned Bank Robbery goes to hell when Simon, The Everyman who only came in to complain about ATM fees, locks himself in the vault, accidentally taking the crew's computer expert hostage.
  • Themed Aliases: Simon and Nick took their aliases from Simon Le Bon and Nick Rhodes from Duran Duran (the gang uses a Duran Duran fan site as an online meetup). Although it is never explicitly stated, it seems a safe assumption that Roger's name is also an alias (Roger Taylor).