This file was generated 2002-10-20 15:36 GMT. This movie's information hasn't changed since 2002-10-15.
Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> May 2002 >> Bandits
I somehow got the impression going in that Bandits was a buddy movie that happened to be about bank robbers. The opening moments set up an American Beauty or Sunset Boulevard ending, which shattered that impression pretty quickly. The rest of the movie, then was tainted by the knowledge of just how badly things would turn out. There was slapstick, there was screwball, but I was convinced I was watching tragic characters, not comedic heroes. I also didn't have the benefit of the laughter of fellow audience members to bouy my perceptions. But like Network, the movie had a closing moment that made me understand why everyone classified it as a comedy. Am I glad I didn't give up early!
As nice as the movie's overall emotional arc works, it's not terribly well made. I got a little excited when I saw Ellen Chenoweth in the credits, as her casting can be award-winningly terrific, as in Ruthless People. Of course, if the flaw is in the writing, no amount of great casting can save the film. I liked her in The Talented Mr. Ripley, but somehow I couldn't buy into Cate Blanchett's character. Her effort is noble, but it's a mistake to write her to fall for the complementary characteristics of the two guys and not want to choose. I had the same problem with Splendor, which suffered even more because all of the characters there were completely devoid of interest. That killed it for me, especially in retrospect. If it's any consolation to Bandits fans, I thought I was enjoying it while I watched it.