Looking for more hidden gems on Netflix I came across The Vault. The title was uninspiring but the premise was a bit interesting. When I saw James Franco was the lead I hit play and sat back.
A group of bank robbers hit a major bank to help their brother out of a debt he got himself into. The set up is done properly and the crew seems to know what they’re doing. When the bank’s main vault falls very short of the money they need, Ed Maas (James Franco), steps up with knowledge of the banks real vault hidden in the basement. The robbery becomes anything but standard when the secret history of the bank is explored.
The setup of the robbery is about the most typical way of doing things. Ask any fifteen year old to outline a bank heist movie and this is what would come out. As the pieces predictably fall into play a couple lines are thrown out that are supposed to be subtle ways to set the stage but flashing words may as well come up on the screen. At first it feels like the uninspired heist is a way to accent the differences when the real plot comes into play. If only that were the case.
Taking a typical story and bringing it in a new direction sounded promising. The heist thing has been done every single way it could have been. The problem with this direction is the audience has no reason to care. The horror movie aspect that comes into the film comes in far too late and isn’t even introduced all that well. The worst injustice of the movie is we are expected to care when bad things start happening to bad people. Was this supposed to be some paranormal sense of justice? It doesn’t come across that way, at all.
Horror type imagery is used to imply that the audience should be scared. The imagery is typical and uninspired. Nothing original is done here. Even in the end, the shot that is supposed to be somewhat iconic for the movie is not only something we’ve seen before, but doesn’t even make sense in regards to the plot.
The big draw to the movie is James Franco. Franco is a strange actor in that he can put out award winning performances, do idiotic comedies, and also pick total dud projects… like this one. Franco’s screen time is limited. His dialogue is all on the nose and the big reveal about his character is seen coming almost from the jump.
The other face you’re sure to recognize is Taryn Manning. Manning is best known for playing Pennsatucky in Netflix’s Orange is the New Black. While she fits that character well The Vault is no real indication she can truly act. Her character is basically the same. She is abrasive and tough to watch.
Every so often hidden gems are uncovered since there is so much coming out every year. The Vault was a James Franco lead heist movie that tried to take on a new angle. It came out in 2017. Sadly, this is one movie that should stay buried.