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The Almost Perfect Bank Robbery

It’s set on Cape Fear, where the 1st Bank of Woodville is robbed of a quarter-million by a teller and her boyfriend, a 2-year veteran of the Woodville Police Department (and before that, a decorated Navy SEAL). He wears a clown mask and forces her to open bank drawers along with her friend, another teller, before the rest of the staff arrive.

Then it’s off to the Grand Caymans the following Sunday, though it coincides with a new mall opening. Meanwhile, a gentleman of foreign extraction is stopped at a multitudinous armed roadblock, and later released.

Special Agent Royce has this figured out at once, from one look at the lovebirds. She’s too dumb to get caught in a lie detector test, he’s too dogged. Her jealous friend spills the beans on the island trip, his brother’s wrecking yard (“Ed’s U Pull It”) has the cash.

Many supplemental details have the same story in view, her ex-husband “Doug the Bug”, for example, who works at Burger Bin and couldn’t grant her wish not “to be white trash all my life.” He calls his successor “RoboCop” or “Super Sleuth”. The bank’s lady assistant manager has a running gag with a personal ad.

“Cyndee—the ultimate babe” it says on the culprit’s charm bracelet, a gift from her ex (“You only call me when you want to be bad,” he says). She and her husband can’t decide on the floor plan of their new home, Monticello (for three kids) or Dorchester (for three cars). It’s a dirt lot in a housing tract. Her Spanish language tapes are from Malle’s Atlantic City (she repeats the English), much of the general style comes from Rafelson (Five Easy Pieces) or Ritchie.

 

Navigating the Heart

The most lacerating critique of self-styled New York culture since Woody Allen’s Manhattan, as part of Capra’s Meet John Doe rendered if possible even more explicit.

The new editor of Manhattan magazine chops the spine of it right away as a circulation-booster. Awards don’t pay. The setup to this is the first scene, reporter Edith laying down the terms of a congressman’s fame.

She’s dispatched to cover the price of fish. The real theme on the surface is how the other half lives, a very dim idea have New York and British Columbia of each other, where fish are eaten and caught, respectively.

A new dam threatens the last wild run of salmon. And this is the real theme, creation is of God and can’t be aped.

Edith goes aboard a fisherman’s boat, a fish out of water like Jane Fonda in Lumet’s The Morning After. The captain has a vague literary bent (he wanted to be a poet, but there was no money in it). There is no crew.

The sham sophistication of New York is a gloss on its innocence of such matters. The hapless rustics, on the other hand, have to deal with dicta from Ottawa.

“Back in the days when I was a beat reporter for the Herald-Trib,” says a colleague, “my editor used to give me these asinine assignments, always missing the real story. Used to drive me nuts.”