Sunday, August 30, 2015

Jay Martin's 7 MINUTES slices a heist into stylish, suspenseful, character-driven chapters

The heist movie is a cinema staple, but we haven't seen too many good ones of late. So even a pretty good one like 7 MINUTES, out on Blu-ray and DVD this coming week, may be be worth the time of those of you aficionados who appreciate this genre. Its writer/director Jay Martin, whom I think is shown below (Mr. Martin is hard one to find a photo of), has taken the heist theme, plunked it down amongst a group of real amateurs who imagine that it'll prove a piece of cake that takes only those titular seven minutes to accomplish, and then watches, dry-eyed, humanely and quite stylishly, as the whole thing goes very far south.

Style, in fact, is the saving grace of this fast-paced, 92-minute thriller in which the way the filmmaker chooses to tell his story is every bit as important as the story itself -- which is, of course, pretty typical of the genre. And while there is little doubt where the whole story is headed and how badly things will turn out, thanks to the fragmented storytelling skills of Mr. Martin, there is still plenty of surprise and suspense along the way. The filmmaker has divided his story into sections devoted to the various characters: a group of friends, acquaintances and relations who interact with each other and the event in question for both good and (mostly) bad. This fracturing allows us to see things from different perspectives and time periods until the entire picture finally comes together and makes sense.

The characters involved, as do so many in this genre, see a way out of their financial straits via robbery. They are not too bright, but they are also not evil. Unfortunately, others connected to them are.

The good cast includes  Luke Mitchell, Leven Rambin, Jason Ritter and Brandon Hardesty, with fine support from the likes of Kris Kristofferson and especially Kevin Gage (shown above, center).

It can be levelled against films of this sort that if the writer/director had told the story plainly and simply, start to finish, it would have been nothing special. Maybe. But Mr. Martin hasn't done this, and his fractured storytelling style, together with some good performances, has made all the difference. 7 Minutes, from Anchor Bay Entertainment, hits the streets on DVD and Blu-ray this coming Tuesday, September 1, for sale or rental.

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