Dir. Greg Marcks, 2006, US/Canada, 86 mins
Cast: Patrick Swayze, Rachael Leigh Cook, Hilary Swank, Barbara
Review by Carol Allen
Films which play with time and offer different viewpoints on the same situation always hold a certain fascination. Think of Memento, where the meaning of present action is revealed later, and Crash with its intersecting characters. The title of this movie refers to a time - 11.14pm - when two apparently unconnected events happen.
Jack (Henry Thomas), a young man who's had a drink or two, hits a young man with his car. And three teenage yobs, driving round in a van making trouble, hit a young woman. The connections between the two incidents are revealed, as we dodge backwards and forwards in time, looking at the events from the different perspectives of the characters.
The film gets off to a good start with a very imaginative credit sequence. The opening scenes involving Jack's accident and his encounter with the police are extremely good, very tense, and get you right into the movie. The yobs in the van (Colin Hanks, Ben Foster, and Stark Sands) are so hateful that, when one of them, while trying to relieve himself out of the window, has a nasty accident which slices off his member, the darkly funny humour works. Rachael Leigh Cook plays sexy and wilful teenager Cheri, with Patrick Swayze as her protective father, trying to cover up a murder he believes she has committed. Barbara Hershey is underused as his wife, and there's also another darkly funny plot element involving Shawn Hatosy as Cheri's suitor, who concocts an inept robbery plot with his convenience store colleague (Hilary Swank) to get money for his girlfriend. And the explanation behind the murder Swayze believes Cheri has committed is comically original.
Overall, this is an impressive feature film debut from Marcks, but there are times when the writing and structure are not as clear as they could be, as with Swayze and his relationship with his daughter. It's a long time before you realise why he thinks she might have committed the murder.
Considering the tightly woven nature of the structure, there are some annoying loose ends, including Hershey's underwritten role, which doesn't contribute to the overall pattern of linked events as strongly as it should. But provided you keep your wits about you and pay attention, it is a largely effective mixture of black comedy and drama, and the accidental links between the characters are intriguing and satisfying, showing us how one person's actions will affect other people, even if the perpetrator is never going to be aware of it.