Genre: Action, Crime, Comedy
Starring: Thomas Jane, Aaron Eckhart
Director: Skip Woods
Why this film isn't better known is completely beyond me. It doesn't look particularly low budget – though admittedly a lot of that's to do with the fact it doesn't do an awful lot that requires excessive funds – nor are the actors unknown, particularly not now that Eckhart has found fame in the Batman Trilogy. The only reason I could find was the lack of box office success due to only opening on a handful of screens, which seems like a bit of a stupid thing to do – creating a film then hiding it away from anyone – and in the days of the internet where forgotten classics are dredged up from the abyss as a matter of course, it boggles the mind that the Tarantino fans haven't latched onto this as well given that the similarities are there, particularly when compared to his earlier work, retaining just enough of a unique style to not be a branded as little more than a mere copycat artist.
As you might expect, this film all involves one man, Casey (Thomas Jane) having one hell of an eventful Thursday. Married, hoping to adopt a child and living in a suburban town in Texas, the fun all begins with the arrival of an old friend, Nick (Eckhart), who he hasn't seen since he was living in LA, for a very good reason. The duo used to spend their days dealing coke, funding a habit involving drink, drugs and plenty of women; a life Casey decided to leave behind only to have Nick hand it right back to him. One suitcase but a whole lot of cocaine, and news of it's whereabouts seems to travel fast, landing him with a number of uninvited guests all after the drugs.
It seems such a simple premise but what sets it apart – and indeed all films that seem to simple to work – is in the development of the characters, and it's here that he really excels; Casey's old character shown in flashbacks creating the stark contrast between the man he once was and what he's become, yet still he retains a sharp enough mind to behave as someone not exactly new to this kind of situation, grumbling to himself when he makes a mistake due to lack of practice. His alter-ego, Nick, plays the smooth talking upbeat gangster with a smile, making light of every situation much to Casey's dismay, and the camaraderie between the two comes across as natural, but this is just the icing on the cake.
Rastafarian hitmen explaining their ambitions to be a reggae artist; Psycho ex-lovers of Nick colliding with the doctor trying to determine if he would make a suitable candidate for adopting a child; Billy Hill who doesn't want the drugs so much as the excuse to torture someone, only to be stopped by the police who arrive; everything has been designed to make you wonder if it's possible for someone's day to go worse. And of course, it always can. Directed, Written by and Produced by first timer Skip Woods, he might not have emerged with the most original of crime/comedy flicks but he works wonders with his minimal budget to produce a film that is certainly never slow.