Netflix's new true crime documentary is a wild, unpredictable journey

I just watched the Netflix original movie How to rob a bankand I can still feel the adrenaline coursing through my veins. It may be a little unorthodox to describe a documentary as “high octane.” But that is the perfect description for How to rob a bank. This film feels like a narrative novel. The first-hand accounts from those who survived the incredible ordeal are intense and gripping. Directors Seth Porges and Stephen Robert Morse take the viewer on a wild ride that becomes more incredible with every minute.

How to rob a bank is a true crime documentary in which the story's main character is as fascinating as the pranks he gets involved in. The film chronicles the rise and fall of Scott Scurlock, a notorious bank robber known to law enforcement as “Hollywood.” We follow his journey from his humble beginnings as a manufacturer of high-quality methamphetamine through his eventual move to bank robbery, culminating in a series of bank vault robberies in which he illicitly steals millions of dollars.

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The Hollywood bank robber built and lived in a huge treehouse near Seattle. He was a free spirit who was not constrained by convention. He rarely wore clothes, even when he had guests. Scurlock is truly a unique character and finding out what drives him is simply fascinating.

The film functions as a psychological profile of a man of limitless potential who was too smart for his own good. Scott, destined for greatness (or infamy) from a young age, is portrayed as an adrenaline junkie who robbed banks as much for the thrill (or probably more) than the monetary gain. Although it is not explicitly stated in those words, it seems as though crime became an addiction for Scott. Entries in his diary and accounts from his friends show that he had some reservations about his life of misadventures. But one gets the sense that he needed the danger, the thrill, the adrenaline rush. And like an addict caught in the clutches of drug abuse, Scott was solely focused on his next high, losing sight of almost everything else.

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How to rob a bank also features several of Scott Scurlock's collaborators, including Steve Meyers, who used to work as an artist. Interestingly, Meyers says that the work he did with Scott required far more creativity than his actual artwork. This statement confused me at first. But when Meyers explained the context, it clicked. He and Scott didn't have their success just by blind luck. What they did truly had an art form. They studied the comings and goings of local law enforcement and strategically planned their crimes with the express intention of doing the exact opposite of what the police and FBI expected. Scurlock and his men were so efficient that they robbed several banks for millions over the course of their active years. They frequently defied convention and even attacked some locations multiple times.

Scott not only made every effort to keep the authorities guessing, but also took inspiration from cinema. He studied films such as Dangerous surf And heat and used them to become a better criminal mastermind. His real-life exploits often paralleled the events in the films that inspired him, giving the documentary an extra level of cinematic elegance.

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I am serious when I say that Scott was inspired by the movies. He committed his first bank robbery in a rubber mask, inspired by the crew of Dangerous surf. However, he quickly realized that entering a financial institution with a mask covering his face limited the element of surprise. Not one to let anything stop him, Scott found a workaround that disguised his identity but allowed him to blend in with the crowd. He used latex prosthetics like those used by special effects artists in Hollywood. This allowed him to conceal his identity while blending in with the crowd.

Scott isn't the only compelling character in this story, though. To take down a cunning criminal, you need a worthy opponent. The FBI team (and local law enforcement officers) who investigated in Hollywood share their anecdotes and recount the epic bust that finally brought the notorious criminal to justice.

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Directors Stephen Robert Morse and Seth Porges search for surviving members of the crime ring and those who knew Scott best to paint a compelling portrait of a notorious figure. They effectively use raw archival footage of Scott and combine it with his diary entries, giving us further insight into his state of mind. The diary entries in particular serve as a fascinating portrait of the emptiness he felt, reflecting the feeling that money and possessions cannot buy happiness.

I absolutely recommend it How to rob a bank. The documentary is as gripping as only a true crime film can be, and Scott Scurlock's story is so outrageous that you have to see it to believe it. The film is available exclusively on Netflix.


“How to Rob a Bank” is captivating, intense and colorful.

Tags: How to rob a bank – true crime

Categorized:Film Reviews

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