Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, Cate Blanchett
Directed By:
Barry Levinson

Bandits begins at the end - Willis and Thornton are in a bank, surrounded by the police and falling apart at the seams over a disagreement about a woman. At this point, the story shifts back to beginning, when both Willis and Thornton were prison inmates and manage to escape in an almost casual fashion. From that point, they manage to hijack their way into a bank robbery, still wearing their inmate clothes. The series of events leads them to devise a "new" manner by which to rob banks: stay over at the bank manager's home the night before and go in with him before the bank opens in the morning.

After the first successful bank robbery, the robbers head their separate ways for two weeks in hopes of keeping the police off of their trail. As Thornton heads to the meeting place, his car runs out of gas and he decides to head on foot, at which point he gets run down by the upset Cate Blanchett, whose marriage has become unbearably empty. She drives him to the meeting place and makes herself a part of their gang, despite Thornton's complaints that she'll be nothing but trouble.

After which, they continue to rob banks, becoming more and more famous because of their unusual methods. Between each robbery, though, Blanchett becomes romantically involved with both Willis and Thornton, further complicating events.

Thornton's hypochondriac Terry Collins plays great against the more straightforward Joe Blake that Willis portrays. They have a great chemistry that works well throughout the film. Initially, Blanchett's Kate Wheeler works well, but she tends to get a little overexposed as the movie moves along. Between Thornton's hilarious outbursts and Harvey J. Pollard, who plays the dopey amateur stuntman turned getaway driver, there's enough humor here to keep the story from getting too full of itself.

The only real gripe I had with the movie was that it spent too much time trying to develop the characters, which meant certain sequences dragged on too long. If they had edited out about fifteen minutes from this film, I think it would have been the perfect pace for the story. Other than that, it was fairly good and showed that Willis can have a second career in more humorous films.

- - Kinderfeld

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