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Inspiration from ‘Point Break’: How a Notorious Bank Robber Emerged in America

In the early ’90s Pacific Northwest, a flood of money accompanied the tech boom, leading to an influx of banks and a rise in daring heists. How to Rob a Bank, available on Netflix, delves into the true story of a criminal known as “Hollywood,” who drew inspiration from the movie Point Break to pull off 19 bank robberies in Seattle, amassing a total of $2.3 million between 1992 and 1996. The documentary captures the flamboyant saga of Hollywood’s heists, complete with outrageous disguises and hidden lairs, set against the backdrop of a city bursting with cash and criminal opportunities.

The film portrays Hollywood as a professional thief who meticulously planned his robberies, wearing facial prosthetics and a D.A.R.E. cap to conceal his identity and taunt investigators. Despite initial low earnings, Hollywood’s heists escalated, culminating in a game-changing haul of $322,870 in a single robbery. This success caught the attention of FBI agents Ellen Glasser and Shawn Johnson, leading to a high-stakes pursuit that unfolded like a Hollywood thriller.

As the narrative unfolds, the tension between law enforcement agents Johnson and Magan adds to the story’s dramatic flair. However, the primary focus remains on Hollywood, later revealed to be Scott Scurlock, and his transformation from a Virginia-raised rebel to a notorious bank robber. Through interviews with Scurlock’s associates and dramatic reenactments, the film paints a vivid picture of his audacious heists and elaborate money laundering schemes.

The documentary culminates in a gripping retelling of Scurlock’s final, fateful robbery, which ended in a violent shootout and his tragic demise. Morse and Porges skillfully capture the intensity of the climactic scene, portraying it as a nightmarish reality for the characters who once fantasized about heist movies but found themselves in a real-life showdown with the law.

Trailer for How to Rob a Bank: https://www.youtube.com/embed/w20aHhlRjDc