Starring: David Wenham, Anthony LaPaglia
Director: Robert Connolly
THERE is a long history of bank bashing in Australia. Henry Lawson turned it into an art form.
Robert Connolly now brings it to th:e big screen. The Bank is a stylish thriller which picks up the anger of the community in relation to rising profits and diminishing services.
Jim Doyle (David Wenham) is a mathematical genius. He has devised a formula for predicting downturns in the stock market. Most people think he’s mad. Simon O’Riley (Anthony LaPaglia) buys the pitch and hires Doyle for Centabank and gives him all the resources he needs to perfect the theory. O’Riley is a ruthless man, “Like God, but with a better suit”. As Centabank is about to clean up on the stock market, it forecloses on a loan taken out by a battling small business owner who has recently lost his son in a tragic accident. Centabank’s aggression pushes him over the edge. With the lure of untold profits, O’Riley will stop at nothing, but Doyle is also playing another game.
On paper, business ethics should not necessarily make great cinema, but The Bank is an intelligent and engaging modern reworking of the Dives and Lazarus parable.
At its core, however, the motivation for most of the heroic action in this film is revenge. As understandable as this resentment might be, revenge always ends in tears. And if what happens in this film happened in real life it causes grief to the rich and poor alike.
Still, this film raises a host of issues that are very important for us to reflect on – greed, injustice, banking ethics, and the rights of the shareholder to profits and the customers to fair service.
Keep an eye out for images of St Anthony. He presides over some very important scenes. Let’s hope he might help us find an ethical banking regime that will be good for everyone.