Jeremy Peeters is a geeky teenager who, along with his kid sister, witnessed his dad’s suicide. The sight of his father’s dangling body in their family florist shop has affected both of them. His sister has become mute, refusing or unable to speak since the incident and undergoing therapy. Whilst Jeremy immerses himself in computer games all day. Their mother tries to cope in the aftermath, but she falls behind in her rent on their business following some ill-advised investments from a bank advisor.
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Jeremy soon realises he has an aptitude for computers – specifically getting through firewalls and security protection. He is entered into a college team to represent Antwerp in a competition entitled Capture The Flag, in which groups of four students from around the world compete to breach each other’s security. His team win the competition, thanks to Jeremy’s skills.
Alidor van Praet is an enigmatic con man who is fresh out of prison, having served two years for intimidating small business owners out of a share of their income. He had planned to retire with his ill-gotten gains when he left jail, but the authorities managed to find his stash of €7.3m – and now he needs to get back to what he knows best.
He assembles his old team and tells them that the money they’d all stolen over the years has disappeared. Unsurprisingly, the news doesn’t go down well. So, Alidor comes up with an idea – a cyber-attack on the banking community.
These are the two seemingly unconnected strands that make up this highly engaging Belgian thriller (originally known as De Kraak). Jeremy is being watched by Alidor’s daughter, Ada. She discovers Jeremy’s back-story, about how his father took his own life, and how his mother has gone bankrupt, all due to bad investments suggested by the banking community. When she approaches Jeremy and asks for his help with her computer, little does he know that he’s been groomed to join Alidor’s gang.
This is a fabulous series. There’s something of the ‘Oceans’ film series about it and the way it’s shot – it looks fabulous on screen. Gene Bervoets (who plays Alidor) and Tijmen Govaerts (Jeremy) are both superb in their roles, but to be fair the entire cast are all excellent. The characters (the story is based on true life events) are appealing and you feel invested in the protagonists – and in particular with the nerdy Jeremy – from the off. It’s witty, charming and high entertaining.
Belgium have given us a lot of quality crime drama over the years, but this might just be the cream of the crop. Essential viewing.
Walter Presents: ‘The Bank Hacker’ launched on Channel 4 at 12.15am on Monday 25th September 2023. The full boxset is available from Walter Presents via C4 Streaming now.