11:14


             Back before she took home a second Best Actress Academy Award for
     
MILLION DOLLAR BABY, Hilary Swank agreed to appear in a low-budget film for
     a first-time filmmaker named Greg Marcks. The resulting movie,
11:14, played at a
     few film festivals before receiving a very limited regional release and then being
     consigned to the DVD shelves. This is a real shame and almost something of a crime,
     because the movie turns out to be a very clever drama about residents of a small town
     whose lives intersect in dramatic fashion.

             Sure, the movie owes a lot to
PULP FICTION, but Marcks is an original. He pays
     homage to that seminal motion picture without falling into the trap that so many other
     movie makers have. Instead, he creates a plausible group of characters and fits their
     stories together. He has accomplished this so well that the DVD release of
11:14
     includes something called a "jump" button which allows the viewer to follow one of two
     characters after they meet. One can easily utilize this function and still understand and
     appreciate the film. Marcks has created a jigsaw puzzle screenplay that can assembled
     in more than one way yet it achieves the same result.

             The young director has also managed to entice a strong cast. In addition to Swank,        
      who also received a producer credit, the ensemble includes Henry Thomas, Barbara
     Hershey, Patrick Swayze, Rachael Leigh Cook, Shawn Hatosy, Colin Hanks, Ben Foster,
     Stark Sands, and Clark Gregg.

             The plot includes several car accidents, two deaths, and a lot of misunderstandings
     and miscommunication. As the film opens, Thomas is driving while speaking with
     someone on his cell phone when he appears to hit something in the road. (As we later
     learn, it is something that has been tossed off an overpass.) He panics, especially after
     a passing motorist (Hershey) calls the local police because she's convinced he has
     struck a deer. Hershey later meets up with her husband (Swayze) who is out walking
     the dog. Their daughter (Cook) seems to be the town tramp, sleeping with several
     young men and demanding money for an abortion to get rid of an unwanted pregnancy.
     One of those men (Hatosy) works in a convenience store and he decides to rob it with
     the assistance of his co-worker (Swank). Out for a joy ride are Hanks, Sands
     and Foster. The latter suffers a freak injury which I won't spoil.

             Like a Mobius strip,
11:14 doubles back to reveal information that gradually
     accrues, eventually giving the viewer a clear picture on how each of the characters is
     related and how their lives intersect on the particular evening in question. The actors
     all offer fine performances and Marcks clearly demonstrates creativity and skill. He's
     one to watch and
11: 14 provides a swell introduction for him.


                                     Rating:                    B +
                                     MPAA Rating:        R for violence, sexuality, and pervasive language
                                     Running time:         85 mins.



                                                                    Viewed on DVD
©  2006 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.