Collider can exclusively unveil the trailer for Bandit, a new film from Allan Ungar based on the true story of Canada’s infamous Flying Bandit with inspiration from Robert Knuckle and Ed Arnold’s novel The Flying Bandit. Josh Duhamel leads the film as the titular bank robber, who after escaping from prison and crossing the border from the U.S. to Canada, goes on to become one of the most infamous criminals in Canadian history. When the charming outlaw falls in love with a caring social worker named Andrea (Elisha Cuthbert), he decides to start robbing banks in order to give her the lifestyle he dreams of — it doesn’t hurt that he happens to be incredibly good at it.
The real Flying Bandit, aka Gilbert Galvan Jr. or Robert Whiteman to those who knew him, was notorious for escaping prison in Michigan, starting a new life in Canada, and proceeding to successfully rob 59 consecutive banks, setting the record for most robberies committed in a row in Canada. The trailer immediately makes it clear how skilled he is at robberies, getting in and out of a bank within three minutes with stolen cash in hand. Duhamel effortlessly switches through disguises and slips in and out of banks like it’s nothing, an impressive feat to Tommy K. (Mel Gibson), a man with “a doctor’s thesis in street” who Duhamel’s Galvan goes to for an investment.
Everything gets harder when he meets the woman of his dreams. They hit it off, and he showers her with gifts through his ill-gotten gains as they look to spend the rest of their lives together. He continues his string of heists in the background, but each job draws more attention from the cops. A search for the mysterious criminal is underway led by detective John Snydes (Nestor Carbonell), but Galvan Jr’s myriad disguises and meticulous planning keep everyone duped. His relationship means avoiding arrest is all the more important, but when an unprecedented job comes in, he has to do “just one more,” a notion that almost never leads to anything good.
Bandit is Ungar’s third feature film, though he’s especially notable for a short Uncharted fan film that starred Nathan Fillion as the globe-trotting adventurer Nathan Drake and Stephen Lang as his veteran explorer pal Sully. He described resonating with Bandit immediately, saying in a statement:
“Having grown up as a filmmaker in Toronto, I always wanted to find bold and audacious stories to tell that also incorporated some sense of “home.” As I set out on my first directorial efforts, I chose projects that would allow me to improve on skills I already began developing, but that would ultimately shape me into a credible director. However, in the back of my mind I still wanted the identity of my films to have some connection to that “home.” With a country so rich in its history, I felt that it was only a matter of time before I would come across a story that had all the right elements to make a powerful and convincing film that people not only could relate to, but that they would go out and actually want to see. That’s how I felt about Bandit.”
He also praised Kraig Wenman’s screenplay for capturing the mix of humor, romance, action, and true crime involved in Galvan Jr’s story. The process of making Bandit was apparently difficult with the pandemic forcing a relocation to Georgia. Ungar detailed what went into recreating 1980s Vancouver for the film, adding:
“Now, with all this talk about country and home, here’s the best plot twist: due to the Covid-19 pandemic we were forced to relocate to Georgia. That’s right. Recreate 1980s Ottawa, Vancouver, Toronto, Winnipeg and Edmonton all in modern day Georgia. And so began one of the most difficult, but rewarding experiences of my career. The film challenged me in ways that I never thought were imaginable, but through trial by fire an immensely talented group of performers, crew, and craftspeople came together to make this special film. Blessed with an incredible cast, we worked tirelessly to bring Gilbert Galvan’s story to life with conviction and passion, and I truly believe it shows.”
Bandit is set to arrive via Redbox Entertainment and Quiver Distribution in theaters and On Demand on September 23.