Dominique Forma's neo-noir thriller explore a nasty cross-section of venal behavior while remaining firmly within the boundaries of crime-film genre conventions.
Lowlife thug Jimmy Berg (Jeff Bridges) and socially prominent Steven (Bob Gunton) are partners in crime, with Steven insisting on a set of guidelines designed to keep them both out of harm's way. But greedy Jimmy doesn't care about rules and goes behind Steven's back to order a payroll robbery that kills the son of a rival, Florida-based mobster. Mob entrepreneur Trevor Morrison (Brian Goodman) sees an opportunity to make some money and orders his favorite hit man, Rick (Peter Greene), to kidnap Jimmy. He then pays Steven a visit, hoping to secure some serious ransom cash. But Jimmy planning for unforeseen events and has his own army of assassins, led by Seth (Noah Wylie), in place. They ambush Rick's van and kill him, leaving his panicky driver Lenny (Jon Abrahams) holed up inside with Jimmy. As Trevor and Steven try to negotiate, the normally meek Lenny sees a chance to improve his standing in the criminal community and weighs Jimmy's pleas against Trevor’s cell phone dictums. The unflappable Seth could be working for Jimmy or bailing Steven out of a jam, but not both. Nearby, cranky tenant Mr. Parker (F. Lee Ermey) refuses to let two house painters work on his furnished room because he wants an unobstructed view of the street – he has a vested interest in Jimmy’s fate. As Lenny vacillates, the gangland standoff starts to take its toll on both the participants and neighborhood bystanders.
Forma and his co-writers create a dog-eat-dog environment in which criminals play their high stakes games without concern for the average joes who blunder into the crossfire. Brutal and despairing, this thriller doesn’t deliver nail-biting suspense, but it does conjure a smoldering sense of dread rooted in Murphy’s Law.
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- Released: 2001
- Rating: R
- Review: Dominique Forma's neo-noir thriller explore a nasty cross-section of venal behavior while remaining firmly within the boundaries of crime-film genre conventions. Lowlife thug Jimmy Berg (Jeff Bridges) and socially prominent Steven (Bob Gunton) are partn… (more)