July 10, 2003

The Bank

thebank.jpgIt's an Australian thriller about banking and mathematical modelling. We picked this up from the library largely due to it starring David Wenham who has been seen more recently in The Two Towers. In The Bank, he plays a genius mathematician who is on the verge of perfecting an algorithm for predicting what the stock market will do. He is hired by a bank CEO played with relish by Anthony LaPaglia. LaPaglia's character gets to stand in for all that's evil about the banking industry in particular and big corporations in general.

The magic algorithm (for magic it would have to be to do what they show in the film, Clarke's Law be damned) is supposedly made possible by some aspect of chaos theory which is represented in the film by some spiffy rendering of the Mandelbrot bug and copious references to Benoit Mandelbrot himself. Gotta like that. The mathematical side of the film is also represented in some really cool cinematography.

The other part of the movie is a view of banking from the point of view of some hapless small business people who lose their business due to having taken a loan that was backed by some strange foreign currency arrangement that my decidedly non-bank-savvy brain can't quite parse. This being the case, I had quite a bit of sympathy for these characters even though their part of the story seems tacked on until you get close to the end and start figuring out what's really going on here.

There were other parts of the movie about which I had mixed feelings. Like their handling of computers which had all the usual movie problems of flashy graphical displays that don't seem to do anything except look cool. Then they turned around and had the most realistic looking super computer since Hal 9000: a big black box with a single line of 3 glowing LEDs and a small logo plate.

Despite the niggling annoyances, this is a smart, good-looking, suspenseful film.

Posted by jeffy at July 10, 2003 11:19 PM
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