Netflix Film Review “Shimmer Lake” (2017) #150WordReview

See Happiness (1998) for what writer-director Oren Uziel was trying (and failing) to achieve.

Shimmer Lake tells the story of a bank robbery gone wrong, in reverse order. An interesting concept for this mystery crime drama / black comedy which focuses on the petty small town characters and their pathetic lives.

Sadly, the comedy and mystery crime were discordant, and very few jokes made me laugh. See Happiness (1998) for what writer-director Oren Uziel was trying (and failing) to achieve.

The biggest flaw, however, was that from the get-go we don’t care about the characters or follow the plot or even want to follow what is, on paper, an alright story. There was no way in to empathise or connect at the beginning of the film, merely a mess of stuff. Even the concept falls apart; the movie thinks it’s Memento or Pulp Fiction, but it really isn’t. The smug wink from one of the characters at the end was a bum note of smuggery. If told in the right chronological order, our response to this film would be, “okay, so…?”

Disappointing.

2/5

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Netflix Film Review “Awake” (2019) #NetflixReviews #150WordReview #AwakeMovie #Awake2019

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A man wakes up in a hospital bed, bandaged from head to toe, and with no memory or who he is. But when our nameless protagonist (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) learns that he is a wanted serial killer, something just doesn’t sit right, and he won’t stop until he finds out who he really is and what happened to him.

Awake is a tense, fast-paced crime mystery with twists. Rookie writer Elana Zeltser makes a solid if not ground-breaking screenplay debut. The script, whilst not as clever as Memento (1999) or as taut as Taken (2008), is well-written with believable plotting and dialogue. Our leads, Meyers and Francesca Eastwood, also really sell the film, although the acting from Malik Yoba (detective Frank Ward) had a tendency to veer off into TV movie territory.

Please ignore the 5.0 IMDb and 14% Rotten Tomatoes scores. This film is much better than that. Riveting, fast-paced, not overly obvious albeit not earth-shakingly original, this is a lovely little movie to spend 92 minutes with.

3/5

© 2020 Bryan A. J. Parry

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