Directed by: Lucky McKee
Starring: John Cusack, Ellar Coltrane, Willa Fitzgerald, Jacob Artist and Ned Bellamy
Run Time: 1h 29min
2 ½ Frames out of 5
By: Shari K. Green
A young woman is begging for her life, trying to escape the clutches of a sadistic… John Cusack?! I know. Doesn’t sound right, does it? Exactly! But, as he often does, he pulls it off even though he would never have fit the role… on paper, that is. I don’t know what it is with him but he manages to always surprise his audience and never lets them down. The movie itself, well, that’s a different story, but let me tell you the story first. The credits roll with extremely fitting music that puts you in the mood to see a good thriller. Popcorn in hand, drink nearby… we’re ready for a good flick. We start the process of learning who the characters in the film are and we’re on our way. We meet three people right away, Lynn (Fitzgerald), the girl everyone wants, Vic (Coltrane) the clingy type, and Jeff (Artist) the one to use when all hope is lost. They’re three friends about to enjoy themselves in the wilderness when we cut to a man we find out is Miller (Cusack) propelling himself out of a plane after he first tosses bags of cargo out the side door. The plane then continues flying itself before crashing into the forest below.
To our surprise (not really), our young wandering besties seem to be heading in the same direction the bags are tossed They run into Miller and outside of Lynn thinking he’s sexy, which I assure you, unlike when he was in Serendipity, Cusack is NOT sexy in the film, they find him odd. Why do I sense this is going to get ugly? OH! I know… because they already show that to me in the first few moments of the movie. You’re watching the movie because you’ve already been intrigued by the trailer, am I right? There is no need to jump ahead in the story when I’m already watching. I digress. So, our campers continue their deep forest frolic filled with friendship and FRUSTRATION. Frustration due to the green-eyed monster rearing its horrid head. Our buddies are caught in a love triangle which has the only female in the group running off in a huff and, as predicted, running into the money. You’d think that instinct would kick in and that she’s run like hell away from big black bags of cash but nope; she takes it without for one moment considering who might be looking for it.
Both Jeff and Lynn (I wonder if either of the writers, Jared Butler or Lars Norberg, are ELO fans), salivate at the idea of going home with this kind of money and are spending it before it’s even counted. Vic, the wiser head, bails. And here were get a bit weird. As Vic treks through the woods alone, he runs into Miller again. They begin talking and through their shared resentment or disenchantment with women, strike or sort of bond. It’s an interesting plot twist to be sure.
Cusack’s ability to deliver a line far exceeds Coltrane’s who’s too flat, but the filmmakers manage a few moments of cat playing with mouse and it works really well. However, when we go back to Jeff and Lynn, things aren’t going quite so smoothly. Lynn is getting a bit ridiculous and I don’t say that lightly.
She’s acting crazy. The idea of being rich has turned her into a maniac. The dialogue written for these two is a bit far-fetched, Lynn has become a cold, witch with a capital B but when we’re on Vic and Miller, the story is much more interesting.
What you find out as they get to know one another is that Miller isn’t a killer, isn’t a terrible, evil person but, much like the case with Lynn, he got the money and intends to do whatever it takes to keep it. It’s said that money changes people. That would be the perfect tagline for this film because, damn! The two people in the power play positions here are almost savage.
*Opens at AMC Arizona Center and On Demand October 13th