Bandit Review – True Story Delivers Charming and Sad Tale

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Bandit, from Quiver Entertainment, presents a charming, true, story of a petty thief, who after escaping a minimum-security prison relocates to Canada to find himself and ultimately becomes a family man with a twist.

The film begins in 1985, where we meet Robert Whiteman, played by Josh Duhamel, who is sitting in a hotel room, preparing for something, at this point we are not sure exactly where this will lead. He calls his wife, Andrea, played by Elisha Cuthbert, and asks her to pick him up at the airport. So, we gather this job interview will be short and he will be home by dinner.

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In the next scene he is walking into the bank across the street from the hotel, and in an elaborate disguise proceeds to demand the teller empty the cash drawer, which she does. Soon he is out the door.

In minutes he is across the street in the phone booth making calls to the local police. And just as fast he is dressed in a suit and like clockwork, he blends in with the group of men walking toward a convention.

This is where the film returns to the beginning of Robert Whiteman’s story. We learn that Robert Whiteman was born Gilbert Galvan Jr., in Detroit, Michigan. After a series of petty crimes, and sentenced to minimum security prison, he escapes to Canada. Deciding he would try to go straight, in his new home, he looks to secure a real job, unfortunately he had no identification, so he buys the identification from a local bum and suddenly he becomes Robert Whiteman.

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He finds a local shelter for men, and manages to talk his way in past curfew, which is where he meets, Andrea, the shelter intake counselor. For whatever the reason, he is charming, and she believes she sees possibility, the two seem to find each other interesting enough. As time goes by, we see he treats her well, and then one day as if a cosmic clash occurs, she finds out she is pregnant, and he reads an article in the newspaper that the federal authorities have expanded their search for him in Canada.

He explains he needs to head out west to Vancouver to see his family. This is where the film pivots. Realizing even in the middle of an economic recession, facing unemployment, and his identity issues, life at home was much better than alone. So, he calls home, and she finally tells him the news about the baby.

He is overjoyed, and instantly struck with fear of being unable to support his family. In an instant he decides to rob banks and oddly he is very good at it. With a background in crime, he knows a few things about the criminal world and instead of acting impulsively he cases the Canadian banking system from the inside. With each step, he researches until he has built a solid plan, that will forever shield his identity.

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Under the guise of a security analyst, he begins flying around the country robbing banks in multiple cities sometimes two in a day, eventually catching the attention of national news outlets that dubbed him "The Flying Bandit."

Addicted to the rush and money that provides his double life, he eventually turns to a local loan shark and reputed gangster Tommy Kay, played by Mel Gibson, for bigger opportunities.

Soon Robert, who has learned to master the double life, is living peacefully in the suburbs, with a baby on the way unaware that his new partner’s lifestyle has, by association, brought him under the eye of a local task force.

Bandit is fast moving, with a combination of hilarity at the facts and equally sad at the loss. The ensemble cast works magic together and creates likable bad guys and not likable good guys.

The adage the truth is stranger than fiction, clearly applies to these events, and as Duhamel frequently breaks the fourth wall to inform the audience of a key point, when an actual truth taken from the “real” events is added a note appears, like a subtitle, and the audiences realizes that in some crimes, the absurdity of it all seems to be the glue that holds it together.

Bandit opens in theaters and On Demand September 23, 2022.

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Country: Canada.

Language: English.

Runtime: 126minutes.

Release Date: September 23, 2022.

Director: Allan Ungar.

Producer: Eric Gozlan, Jordan Yale Levine, Ryan Donnell Smith, Jordan Beckerman.

Writer: Robert Knuckle (based on the novel) and Kraig Wenman.

Cast: Mel Gibson, Elisha Cuthbert, Josh Duhamel, Nestor Carbonell, Haley Webb, Swen Temmel, Keith Arthur Bolden, Leslie Stratton, Dylan Flashner.

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