Director: Oren Uziel
Writer: Oren Uziel
Stars: Benjamin Walker, Wyatt Russell, Rainn Wilson, Ron Livingston
Shimmer Lake is the latest offering from film and television streaming service Netflix. The movie is written and directed by Oren Uziel and the story begins on a Friday morning. Andy (Rainn Wilson) is on the run with a bag of money hiding in his basement .
He’s being pursued by two police officers Zeke Sikes (Benjamin Walker) who is also Andy’s brother and Reed Ethington (Adam Pally) and two FBI agents (played by Rob Corddry as Agent Kurt Biltmoreand and Ron Livingston as Agent Kyle Walker)
The sequence of events are very much in the style of films like Pulp Fiction or more closely Christopher Nolan’s Memento in which we begin with Friday and work our way back through the sequence of events to get to the truth.
The audience are fed fragments of the story between Andy and Zeke but also supporting characters in Judge Brad Dawkins (John Michael Higgins) who owns the bank, Ed Burton (Wyatt Russell) and wife Steph Burton (Stephanie Sigman) looking for a better life and accomplice Chris Morrow (Mark Rendall) who portrays a mixed up loser.
All but the Judge were pretty close friends growing up and obviously all went in different directions as time went by. The only connection they group all have now is the tragedy of Ed and Steph’s five-year-old son who died in an accidental meth lab explosion with most of the blame pointing at Ed for the tragedy.
The style of this film cannot be knocked as it is interesting on how each day we witness the characters build new relationships and get a little more back story (or should that be front story) as the story unfolds (backwards) now in filming terms it could be that this film was shot in sequence and then presented to the audience in this manner.
Nothing wrong with that and perhaps a clever way to keep a very simple and straight storyline interesting. Oren Uziel style is one thing and although character development is a little scarce, you understand the relationship between all of them by the end of the movie.
One thing I felt it was lacking was comedic value, yes this movie is supposed to have a dark humour about it and although there are a couple of laugh out loud moments I felt the movie just lacked that element of comedy. Having said that I’m glad it wasn’t forced. Recently a few of the Netflix “comedy” films have come off a little desperate and appear to be trying too hard to “split the audiences sides”
The casting for this movie is a decent one. Having Rainn Wilson and Ron Livingston in this movie should have made this movie more funny but Wilson’s Andy is too much in a difficult and serious situation as a desperate man to really go anywhere with apart from a few funny outbursts. On the other hand Livingston is just underused and I was a little disappointed with lack of screen time for the “Office Space” star.
Possibly the most predictable character is Steph played by Stephanie Sigman. Steph although is the quiet wife of Ed and portrays a woman and a mother tortured and haunted by the death of her son, you can see early on she is manipulating the whole scenario and I’ll leave it at that without spoiling too much. Characters Ed and Chris although are supposed to be different in the sense of the hierarchy of the group aren’t much that different to me.
Both appear to be not very bright and gave short tempers that makes them appear to be never in control. This came as a disappointment as we aren’t introduced to Ed in person until a good hour into the movie and although mentioned appeared to be the brains behind the robbery.
I have to admit that although there are flaws within this movie and I did at first, I thought this was going to be just another bank robbery movie. I was wrong in the sense of it’s style and presentation which I think saved it.
The movie had suspense, a decent written plot, and a few twists on the way that viewing the movie in backwards made the stolen money a secondary storyline and the real story was about revenge and justice.
It’s an okay film and for a duration of 83 minutes you won’t feel you have wasted your time. If anything it’s a one time viewing kind of a film.