A Film Review
Copyright Dragan Antulov 2005
Good films at certain occasions can cause bad feelings. The author of this review experienced this phenomenon with 11:14, 2003 black comedy directed by Greg Marcks. The feelings weren't directed at film, but at the contemporary Hollywood in general. Marcks' film showed how little was necessary for a film to be quality entertainment. And, to make things even more depressing, qualities of 11:14 were ignored by distributors, making it into just another good film nobody had heard of.
The plot is simple and set in small American suburb of Middleton during the course of one night. It all appears to begin when Jack (played by Henry Thomas), young and slightly drunk man, drives a car. At 11:14 PM, his car hits something. Much to his horror, the apparent victim is a man, dead and terribly disfigured during the crash. Jack tries to cover up his crime, only to learn that the incident happens to be only one in the series of macabre events that involve armed robberies, genital mutilations, overprotective parents and young people with too much fondness for perverse sex or substance abuse.
At first sight, the plot of 11:14 looks very complicated. Thankfully, Marcks used non-linear narrative structure for the script. This technique - quite fashionable and often over-used in post-Tarantino years - works wonderfully in 11:14. All events and the character motivations are gradually explained through different perspectives, each adding another part of the puzzle. The transitions are smooth and the viewers are never confused, nor do they lose interest for the plot, despite having its resolution telegraphed in advance. This is mostly due to very intelligent script and very realistic characters - ordinary people who do some very un-ordinary things due to macabre set of coincidences.
The film benefits a lot from small, but very capable and experienced cast that includes both younger actors like Shawn Hatosy or Rachael Leigh Cook and veterans like Patrick Swayze or Barbara Hershey. Some of the characters, especially older, aren't properly developed. The ending also lacks emotional impact - probably due to the lack of deeper meaning in the story. 11:14 can be viewed more like an exercise in style than film in its own right, but even as such, it provides enough entertainment for the audience to deserve recommendation.
RATING: 6/10 (++)