Based on true events, this is a heavy fictionalized and speculative look at one of the most infamous crimes in modern English history. Even if it may be fictionalized, just the very fact that this has some sort of basis in reality makes it worthwhile and interesting. But let's say for a minute that it was totally fictional and had no real life basis: it would still be just as awesome of a stylish caper flick.
It has a retro old school feel to things (and it helps that it is a period piece), and there's nothing wrong with that. Nothing is cut and dried, and there's a lot of subplots and twists and turns, ins, outs, and whathaveyous, and, while some of it is a bit convoluted and confusing at times, I still found myself able to follow along pretty well for the most part.
A group of shoody criminals are wrangled into pulling a bank robbery, but the stuff they're after has some serious potential for all kinds of shit to hit the fan, and as a result, makes the possible consequences far more weighty than the benefits. I could sense of bit of Guy Ritchie in here (mostly due to Statham), but Donaldson makes this one his own by having a killer soundtrack, a great sense of style and energy, decent pacing, and some moments of truly genuine suspense and tension. It gets pretty gritty and hairy at times, but it never feels too over the top or out of place.
Probably the greatest thing this movie has going for it is the cast. Jason Statham is pretty much the only really known performer here. I've heard of Saffron Burrows, but in name only. The rest of the lot are played by a cool cast of unknowns that I'd love to see get some more work. Now, being a crime movie with Statham in it, you might have some preconceived notions of how things might play out. In a wonderful breath of fresh air, this is a film with subdued action, and a more nuanced turn by JS. I dare say he actually has to do a bit more than kick ass and be cool. Awesome.
All in all, not a bad little film. It's not perfect, and some of it could have been a little more straight forward, but it's fun, has good performances, and sets up a really interesting scenario with how it tweaks this fun little subgenre (mostly having to do with the plot that I don't even want to try to explain). I give it a solid B.