There’s no cute theme this month, I’m afraid. Anxiety August pretty much took it all out of us. Of course, I can’t speak for the wife (though we’re usually simpatico on most things) but I can’t take anymore emotion for a bit. Plus, I’ve been in Twin Peaks Land for the past fortnight desperately trying to catch up and I’m very fragile.
So let’s just Die Hard & Blog Free instead, shall we?
Shimmer Lake (2017)
An inventive crime thriller told backwards — reversing day by day through a week — following a local sheriff’s quest to unlock the mystery of three small town criminals and a bank heist gone wrong.
I was half way through this movie before I realised it was playing backwards and I’m pretty sure that says more about me than the way this has been intricately (not really) crafted. Maybe. We start with Rainn Wilson‘s Andy hiding out in his own basement, seemingly from his family and brother, who happens to be the town sheriff.
Upstairs, Sheriff Zeke (Benjamin Walker) is tolerating a lack luster breakfast laid on by Andy’s worried wife Martha. It seems Andy has been missing for a while and may or may not be entangled in a bungled robbery though, of course, Martha doesn’t believe her husband capable of such a terrible thing. Zeke is recovering from a gunshot wound inflicted by one of Andy’s alleged co-conspirators, Ed Burton (Wyatt Russell).
Ed, for the record has also disappeared and everyone thinks he’s betrayed his crew, including hapless Chris (Mark Rendall) and skipped town with the proceeds from the aforementioned robbery. The feds are closely watching Ed’s wife, Steph (Stephanie Sigman) while searching for our rag tag bunch.
My review for the record is probably going to contain holes because I have a bad memory at the best of times. Needless to say the film plays backwards and at its climax we find out just what the frig kicked this all off and why.
The heist seems to somehow involve Brad Dawkins (John Michael Higgins), a closeted local businessman (Update: nope, he’s a judge) who has been enjoying a liaison with Meth Billy (Matt Landry) while also being crooked. In fact, he’s happily holed up with his part-time lover when Andy comes a calling looking for the cash he’s convinced Brad is holding on to and things don’t end well for one of those men. Spoiler: It’s not Rainn Wilson.
At some point Chris ends up dead in a motel room and it seems only a matter of time before someone gets to Andy, though not if Zeke can get there first. Meanwhile, the feds are happily taking more of a backseat role in the case and letting the Sheriff and his partner, Reed (Adam Pally) lead the way.
Steph, while this all plays out, appears to have something to hide herself which becomes apparent when she fabricates a domestic dispute with the erstwhile Ed. Mrs Burton FYI is grieving for the son she lost in a tragic meth lab explosion mere months earlier.
So what’s the actual deal? Where the eff is Ed? What’s Steph’s involvement, if anything? Who killed Chris – and will Andy ever find his way back to his family, and his wife’s terrible cooking? Well, it’s all there in the ending, dears, and you could probably do worse if you like a crime caper.
There’s a sort of Fargo-esque vibe to this (though nowhere near as good, what is?). I suppose the playing backwards gimmick makes it a little more edgy but I don’t think it was strictly necessary. Sure, it’s intriguing to find out there’s a twist of sorts but the performances and the light humour speak for themselves. I had a nice time but I probably won’t remember it much in a few weeks.
Forgive this rather snappy review but there’s not an awful lot more to say. It’s a small-time heist movie with some fun characters.
3.5/5. You can do worse. You can do better.
What did the good lady wife make of this one? Is she ready to bury it at Shimmer Lake or plan a heist with it? Find out here, obviously.