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11:14 (2003)

  Directed by: Greg Marcks
Written by: Greg Marcks
Starring: Rachael Leigh Cook, Ben Foster, Colin Hanks, Shawn Hatosy, Stark Sands, Hilary Swank, Patrick Swayze, Henry Thomas
Links: 11:14 on the IMDb
Genre: Suspense/Horror/Thriller

This movie gets: 7.00 (1 rating) Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

"Non-linear is becoming a little linear" - a review by em_fiction

11:14 is another non-linear film. It's basically an account of a car accident, retold from five different perspectives, with each successive story a little earlier than its predecessor. The characters involved include a drink driver (Henry Thomas, i.e. a grown-up Elliott from E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)), a cheating girlfriend (Rachael Leigh Cook), the girlfriend's slightly desperate convenient-store-worker boyfriend (Shawn Hatosy), the boyfriend's fellow worker (Hilary Swank), the girlfriend's overprotective father (Patrick Swayze), and three stupid rowdy teenage boys (Ben Foster, Colin Hanks and Stark Sands) who get themselves caught up in a very intersting situation

Like most non-linear films, 11:14 leaves a trail of questions as it goes along — "What happened there?", "Where did that thing go?" — which all get answered eventually at some point later on through retelling earlier events from another point of view. It's a very clever film in many regards, but the only thing that lets it down is its lack of substance. Greg Marcks, the writer-director, seemed so caught up in trying to make all those little non-linear coincidences as clever as possible that he forgets to give the story, and characters, any depth or substance. The personalities he gives his characters seem banal and stereotypical (the cheating girlfriend, the overprotective father, the crazy hooligans, etc.), so there wasn't very much effort put into character development at all.

The most interesting point of view of the five would probably have to be the one with the three idiotic teenagers. It was the only story that had a little bit of extra bizarreness which raises it above the rest of the film in terms of originality. No real complaints in the acting department: Cook, Swayze and Thomas didn't look all that comfortable in their roles, but still managed to give good performances. The three boys, including Tom Hanks' son Colin, are also quite good (although Tom Hanks may need to teach his son some manners). Shawn Hatosy gave one of the better performances in the film, instilling a perfect sense of doubt and confusion in his character.

The most standout performance, however, belongs to Hilary Swank. After having had so much success in the bigger films, it's great to see that she can still, just as easily, satisfy a role on the other end of the scale. Being a producer of the film, her enthusiasm for it was evident in her performance. Swank's character, Buzzy, is an exception to what I said about the characters not having any personality. Even though she's not meant to be, Swank makes her character almost like a child: playful, stubborn and unusually desperate. As a result, I found her incredibly likeable, and by far my favourite character in the film.

You're probably wondering why you haven't heard of this film before. That's because it hasn't actually been released yet. Other than a few screenings at some film festivals, Marcks hasn't been able to get a proper distributor for general release (the film doesn't even have a proper official website yet). Well, actually, he wasn't able to until recently. Apparently, Hilary Swank's second Oscar for Million Dollar Baby (2004) made New Line very keen on buying this film for a domestic release. The film will certainly do well with audiences. It's so accessible that it feels much more like a mainstream film than an arthouse.

11:14 is clever and enjoyable, even if it doesn't offer much else beneath its surface.

em_fiction gives this movie 7 out of 10.
Review created on Mon 13 Jun 2005

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