Sunday, August 12, 2007

11:14 (2003)

gettin it on in the graveyard

Director: Greg Marcks
Format: DVD
DVD Features: trailer, commentary, deleted scenes, featurette
Starring: Patrick Swayze, Shawn Hatosy, Rachael Lee Cook, Hillary Duff

If there’s a moral to the story of 11:14, it’s that idiots shouldn’t drive. And if there’s a second lesson to be learned, it’s that if you find a body, don’t try to hide it.

11:14 is about the mishaps of five (or six, or four, depending on which review you read) different people living in Middletown, Rural America. The significance of the time mark indicates the point at which their stories intersect. Each story is presented, and then, time reversed so that another tale can be told, all culminating in the moment when the their connection is clarified.

Our first victim of circumstance is Jack (Henry Thomas). He’s just finished a phone conversation when, out of nowhere, a body lands on his car. Since he’s been drinking, he decides that it might be a good idea to hide the evidence. A passerby stops to ask what the trouble is, and assumes that the driver has hit a deer in the road. But, when the cop who reports to the scene opens up the trunk, a mad chase through the woods ensues.

Flash back to Frank (Patrick Swayze), who’s watching his daughter leave from the window of their home. He decides to take his dog out for a walk through the cemetery. His discovers his daughter’s keys on the ground and then runs headlong into a body, its skull crushed beyond identification. Thinking that it was his daughter who committed the murder in self-defense, he decides to protect her by getting rid of the corpse.

Enter Eddie (Ben Foster), Mark (Colin Hanks) and Tim (Stark Sands). They’re a trio of drunken misfits out for a joyride, setting things on fire and hucking stale donuts at passing cars. When one of them decides that to hang his manhood out of the window instead of making a pit stop, he winds up seriously regretting it.

Then, we have Duffy (Shawn Hatosy), who is Cheri’s boyfriend (and who totally reminds me of my ex) and he’s gotten himself into quite a fix. His girlfriend is pregnant and the only way he sees to get the money for her abortion is to rob the convenience store he works at. Buzzy (Hilary Swank), the girl on night shift, doesn’t want to cooperate. But, when she realizes that she might lose her job for accidentally busting a window, she elects to take a bullet wound to make the robbery look convincing.

Cheri (Rachael Lee Cook) is Frank’s daughter. She’s also Duffy’s girlfriend, with a couple of tricks up her sleeve. Not only does she have Duffy running her errands, she’s got two more boyfriends under her thumb and a plot to make it out of town with some cash. It’s Cheri's story that finally wraps everything up and ties all of the tales together.

Even though she’s not the main focus of this movie, Hillary Duff plays her role fantastically. Her tendency to take on characters which make her look neither sexy nor glamorous really earns her a bit of credit in my eyes. I think that it shows that she’s built her career on solid acting skills rather than a huge rack and a family fortune. Swayze, who usually annoys the hell out of me, fits perfectly into the role of overprotective father. The entire cast of 11:14 impressed the hell out of me. I was totally convinced of each and every character and it was one of the best features of the film. The character around which all three stories ultimately spawn is Cook’s. Even though she’s the town tramp, this little chick’s a bit more clever than I expected.

For an inexperienced director, Marcks does a heck of a job with 11:14. Even though I’ve read a series of glowing reviews of this film, I don’t remember it getting much attention in the press at all. While the storytelling technique in his movie has been used before in movies like Momento, Pulp Fiction and Amores Perros, it doesn’t appear tired and uninspired here. It’s true that 11:14 could have taken a more serious spin, trying to teach lessons about morality and consequence, but it doesn’t take on such a lofty attitude. On the contrary, the entire adventure is treated with a comic touch. Nobody in the film is without blame, but there isn’t anyone to hate all the same. It’s a whole lot of fun and doesn’t try to preach.

Overall Rating: 4
Hottie Rating: 2 (for Cook and her outfit)

Alternate viewing: Run Lola Run
Official site
IMDB site
The Onion AV Club Review

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