Allan Ungar has tried a stylistic approach in his recent exploration, “Bandit.” Unlike his previous film, “Tapped Out,” “Bandit” has everything sorted out. He had significant casting, a great story based on actual events, and almost two hours of the screenplay to establish whatever he wanted. Yet, he has failed to bring out the in-between chemistry of the characters. Actors like Josh Duhamel and Mel Gibson can’t be blamed entirely because, even with a weak script, they single-handedly elevated the dull written scenes. The issue, however, starts with the conversation between the main characters. It’s a central writing flaw that led the film into a not-so-good-action film. Let’s look at the story of the movie before discussing it further.
What Happens In The ‘Bandit’ Film?
In 1984, we saw America going through an economic crisis, amidst which Gilbert Galvan (Josh Duhamel) was charged with fraud. When a country fails to provide jobs, people generally shift to anarchy. In a time of crisis, Gilbert decides to become a conman. But, as soon as he is caught, he is sentenced to 18 months of imprisonment. Gilbert is not a man with great patience, so he breaks out of prison and starts living a decent life. He chose the northern regions for his safety since he had escaped from the south. Now, he is selling popsicles in Ottawa. He finds a place to crash and meets Andrea Hudson (Elisha Cuthbert). They start to grow a liking for each other. Just when Gilbert thinks everything is finally going right for him, the popsicle company closes funding for a part of the sellers. Gilbert loses his job yet again. Later, he comes into contact with a man named Tommy Kay, who is kind of a gangster, and wishes to meet him one day. After that, we see Gilbert moving in with Andrea, and soon he finds out in the newspaper that the police are now looking for him in the north.
So, Gilbert runs again to a different place, and something happens that completely changes his life. He sees a local bank unloading a significant sum of money where the security is not that tight. He then goes to a local clothing shop, rents some clothes to disguise himself, and robs the bank. He was very nervous initially, but after the first successful heist, the fear started to fade away, and in its place, an artist rose. Gilbert learns prosthetics and the use of makeup and successfully loots another bank. But Gilbert feels like it is always advantageous to have a powerful friend on his side in such a line of work. So, he demonstrates a three-minute heist in front of Tommy Kay, and Tommy is too pleased to ignore his idea. Tommy eventually invests in this criminal scheme, and they make a lot of money together.
On the other hand, we see a detective named Snydes (Nestor Carbonell) who is looking for Tommy Kay. He is obsessed with catching him but fails in every attempt. He then meets another detective named Hoffman (Swen Temmel), who is also in pursuit of Tommy Kay. Together, they build a strong team and start surveilling Tommy Kay’s movements. Soon, Snydes finds out about Gilbert’s use of makeup and prosthetics. Now, he understands how all the robberies are linked to Tommy Kay indirectly. Tommy’s personal bodyguard, Diamond Dave (Keith Arthur Bolden), betrays the gang and tells the police about Gilbert’s Vancouver mission. However, since he was unaware of the many details, the police thought Gilbert would loot some other bank in Vancouver. Previously, Gilbert had only looted five banks there over and over. So, the police enforced tight security in those banks. But Gilbert planned to loot jewelry this time with Tommy. Although Snydes got so close this time, he again missed the opportunity to catch Gilbert.
18 months after this incident, we see Gilbert living in a happy family with a daughter and wife, Andrea. Tommy suddenly visits him one day and asks Gilbert whether he misses the job he was previously so good at. Gilbert also finds out that he lacks the money to pay the bills. So he decides to pull off one last heist. Andrea tries to stop him, but he lies and leaves her. He pulls off the last heist of his life, but eventually, Snydes catches him on his return to the airport. Gilbert never gave away any information against Tommy Kay; hence, he was sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment. However, Tommy Kay was later arrested. In reality, Gilbert was released in 2001. He and Andrea have completed their divorce. Gilbert is a truck driver now and is allowed to meet with both of his daughters occasionally.
‘Bandit’ Ending Explained: How Did Gilbert Get Caught? Was He Really Short Of Money?
First of all, Gilbert Galvan is not his real name. Also, however much he prefers to be called by the name Robert Whiteman, Robert’s real name is Vincent Smears. Snydes and Hoffman created the ‘Project Cafe’ to capture Tommy Kay. There they found out about two new guys who had recently connected with Tommy. Although they drove the same car, the identities of both characters remained unknown to the detective duo. However, one day, Snydes entered Tommy’s cafe, and he learned about Gilbert’s use of prosthetics and makeup. So, they understood that the two guys were the same person. With the help of the number plate, they even tried to track down Robert Whiteman. However, every attempt led to a new failure, as Robert was conscious not to leave any trace behind. How so? He had seen earlier that the local banks had less security and great money. This is a wonderful combination for a conman like him. Local banks now number in the hundreds of thousands, and it is tough to provide enough security.
Gilbert wouldn’t have been caught if he had not set foot in a job that he had already quit. But the circumstances forced him to do something he was once very good at. According to Gilbert or Robert Whiteman, it was the only thing he ever valued as much as his family. So, Gilbert finally made one last attempt to loot the bank, but Snydes was already following his trail. Things started to fall apart for Gilbert after Tommy Kay paid him a little visit. Tommy knew Gilbert had made enough money. So, there is a possibility that Tommy himself may have sent Diamond Dave to the police. Because, at a task where Gilbert wanted to go alone, Tommy sent one of his drug-addicted guys to accompany him, eventually creating more difficulties for him. So, here goes the theory.
Tommy did not like the fact that Gilbert had decided to stay put. This is a primary street rule. Unless you’re a millionaire and accepted by society, you don’t quit. Tommy wanted Gilbert to carry on. Gilbert paid him well only to maintain the friendship. It was free money for Tommy. When Gilbert put himself off the game, the free cash stopped. So, Tommy went to meet Gilbert, told him how great he was, pinched his ego with praise, and knowingly made him fall for one last heist. Gilbert took the decision in an emotionally driven condition. He knew he could not make any mistakes, but little did he know that it was all a trap set up when “Project Cafe” first took place.
In the end, we see the original Gilbert speaking in an interview, saying he was left with no money. In the “Bandit,” we see on several occasions that even though Gilbert had enormous money, he would spend it all. The way he had spent on houses, coats, and cars, it is not surprising that he did not have much money left to survive without a regular job. Even if he had a little money, maybe after jail time, he realized he should not spend much and keep it to help his former family. Well, we can never know about that.
Final Words: An Average Adaptation Of A Great Non-Fiction
In reality, Gilbert Galvan’s journey is way more exciting than we see in the “Bandit.” As we have said earlier, the screenplay suffers the most when it comes to laying down chemistry between the characters. Also, the heist part has not been adequately established. There is no tension in the build-up. Every heist lacked the intensity and the thrill that was required. However, the only good thing about the “Bandit” was the drama. The performances by Josh Duhamel and Mel Gibson made the film a good one-time watch.