7 Minutes – new heist thriller out in the US

My review of new heist thriller 7 Minutes is over at FM and appears below…

Ok, get in the bank, take the money and be out of there in 7 minutes. No one gets hurt and only the bank loses the money. Simple?

Well, it wouldn’t be much of a movie if it were that easy. And in this new heist drama it certainly isn’t.

Following three high school friends as they attempt to cover the losses of a mistakenly flushed drug supply, the film takes an intriguingly circuitous route around the narrative, dropping back through the last 3 years examining just how the band became so desperate.

Sam (Luke Mitchell) appears to have it all made at the start of the story, with a football scholarship and a cheerleader girlfriend (Leven Rambin). However, a career ending injury soon puts paid to that, and before we know it he’s lost his factory job and is making drug deals to make ends meet. This desperation is echoed in the stories of his unfaithful married brother Mike (Jason Ritter) and their recently jail-released friend Owen (Zane Holtz).

And that, rather than the heist itself, is one of the most interesting things about the flick. It takes a broad look at the sort of depressed community where if you’re a guy you have a choice between sports or crime and if you’re a girl you go and work in the diner.  Everyone knows each other, and has some kind of stake in characters’ affairs and actions.

The sharply conceived visual style is another positive feature of the piece. Characters are introduced with bold hard-hitting freeze frame lettering reminiscent of 90’s UK thrillers Snatch and Trainspotting. Comparisons could also be drawn with older westerns such as High Noon and Sergio Leone’s work in producing the balanced on a knife-edge paranoid fear brought about by ever-ticking clocks of impending bloodshed.

The jumping back and forth from the past to the present of the bank job becomes more and more nerve-shredding as details emerge about each of the central players and their relationships with each other. When a truly insane criminal named Tuckey (Kevin Gage) learns of the group’s plans and attempts to get a piece of the action, the proverbial truly hits the fan.

The inclusion of downbeat local cop Brandon Hardesty to the party adds another layer of potential disaster. All the while Owen’s career crim dad’s (Kris Kristofferson) simple yet important advice; “don’t get caught”, can be heard ringing in the wannabe robbers ears.

A strong début feature from writer/director Martin, 7 Minutes goes beyond the conventional bank heist drama to provide a provocative and memorable visual experience.

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