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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

It Happened One Morning

Bandits (2001) on IMDb

Plot Overview

family dinnerInmate Terry “the Panther” Lee Collins (Billy Bob Thornton) residing at Oregon State Prison doesn't care for the way his food is spiced. Fellow inmate Joe Blake (Bruce Willis) would like to have a cheese­burger and fries for dinner and to sleep in a comfortable bed. They pull off a daring day­time departure and a sneaky home invasion to get their way.

sleeping womanHigh maintenance house­wife Kate Wheeler (Cate Blanchett) escapes her prison and connects up with Joe and Terry (“Together you're the perfect man.”) They can't get rid of her nohow. Terry devises a scheme to do an end run around the banks' guards, tellers, alarms and customers. They engage Joe's cousin Harvey “Dog” Pollard (Troy Garrity) as their get­away driver. A string of successful jobs makes “the sleep­over bandits” famous to a fault. They decide to cap off their run with “one main big score” at The Alamo Savings and Loan, named after a famous battle in Texas where nobody survived.


Their first home invasion interrupted a couple teenagers Cheri (Azura Skye) & Phil (Anthony Burch) who were like to burn up the couch making out. Rather than confront them for their las­civious­ness Joe reprimands them for having “lied to your parents” about where they were. He treats it seriously as one should any of the Ten Commandments, i.e. (Ex. 20:12) “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” After the two found them­selves alone together unbeknownst to their folks, we just might assume nature would take its course.

This sets the tone for Joe & Terry's career. Terry is an inveterate complaining hypochondriac who will talk one's ear off about his imagined maladies and write an occasional letter. Joe believes in a govern­ment con­spiracy to take people's money, but he's a man of action; he'll just take it back from the banks—they're insured. Together they comprise a folie à deux who go off the deep end once they get greedy: (Exodus 20:17) “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his man­servant, nor his maid­servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.” In prison they wanted properly prepared food and a made-up bed. On the out­side they need seed money to open a bar in Parizo Del Mar (“Tuxedos and margaritas.”) They do, how­ever, spread their money around the community—more than the banks did—making them a kind of Robin Hood. The movie in fact treats them kindly due to some under­lying mental affliction(s).

Kate violated, (Ex. 20:14) “Thou shalt not commit adultery” but only after an inattentive husband like to drove her mad. Their front­man Harvey made short work of, (Ex. 20:16) “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour” through various professional deceptions. The movie seems to give a pass to a cluster of moral breaches for the sake of its enjoyment. It works well enough to get us rooting for the ‘bad’ guys.

Production Values

” (2001) was directed by Barry Levinson. It was written by Harley Peyton. It stars Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, and Cate Blanchett. There was some good chemistry between the leads Willis and Thornton. The cast was out­standing. They all stayed in character. MPAA rated it PG–13 for some sexual content, language and violence. Bob Dylan sings a couple of his tunes from “All the Tired Horses” (1970) at the beginning.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

“Bandits” was finely balanced between human sympathy and the realization that crime does not pay. I found it quite humorous regard­less of the end, bene decessit (good deaths), we could see coming. It strikes a nice balance among potential extremes. See it for amusement.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Well done action flick. Suitability for Children: Suitable for children 13+ years with guidance. Special effects: Well done special effects. Video Occasion: Fit For a Friday Evening. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.