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Shimmer Lake
USA, Canada
Crime, Drama, Thriller, Mystery
IMDB rating:
Oren Uziel
Rob Corddry as Kurt Biltmore
Matt Landry as Meth Billy
Stephanie Sigman as Steph Burton
Benjamin Walker as Zeke Sikes
Wyatt Russell as Ed Burton
Adam Pally as Reed Ethington
Karl Campbell as Armored Car Man
Adam Saunders as State Trooper
Julie Khaner as Mrs. Dawkins
Angela Vint as Martha Sikes
Ron Livingston as Kyle Walker
John Michael Higgins as Brad Dawkins
Rainn Wilson as Andy Sikes
Mark Rendall as Chris Morrow
Storyline: An inventive crime thriller told backwards -- reversing day by day through a week -- following a local sheriff's quest to unlock the mystery of three small town criminals and a bank heist gone wrong.
Type Resolution File Size Codec Bitrate Format
HQ DVD-rip 720x304 px 1353 Mb mpeg4 2183 Kbps avi Download
Not even a good alibi
When your profile is so low you seem to prefer to pass unnoticed, it's hard to find the motivation to write something about you.

Nonetheless we found this motivation in the mixed and minimalist features of the production: photography and editing are fine in a non- memorable way. Writing is fine in a non-entertaining way (which should be nearly a compliment to the writer of the sequels of Mortal Kombat and 21st Jump Street...). Acting is fine in a "I don't believe in any of this" way. The "mistery" twist is fine but simplistic. The comedy is fine but... a 3 minutes average crazy kitties video on youtube is way funnier.

I will not list how many other movies used this "reverse" chronological structure to earn their points, but to consider it innovative I guess some people must really be oblivious.

A Fargo clone 20 years later... yawn... If you want to completely forget a movie in a couple of days, try this.

PS: Italian dubbing is - as usual - poor and pointless. Don't Netflix' executives know that the 95% of their target user base speaks English or isn't bothered by subtitles? Can't they make some market research about this before throwing money down the window for stuff no one needs?
Shimmer Lake Relies Heavily on Their Twisted Narrative Structure but There's Enough Here to Keep Viewers Occupied
*Minor Spoilers Ahead* Our story begins during a grey Friday morning in an unnamed mid-west town. Andy Sikes (Rainn Wilson) is hiding in the basement with a big bag. His daughter comes into the laundry room and he's able to convince her to go back upstairs without giving him away. She goes upstairs to have breakfast with her uncle Zeke Sikes (Benjamin Walker) who just happens to be the sheriff and her mom. Andy is able to sneak out and steals his neighbours' car. Zeke has no choice but to continue to work and he picks up his deputy Reed Ethington (Adam Pally). The day continues to unfold, we see the aftermath of this violent bank robbery. But instead of moving to Saturday, we actually rewind to Friday and the story continues to unfold in reverse so we deal with the aftermath first and the movie progresses back to the heist.

The story being told in reverse is pretty key to keeping this story interesting. You would think seeing what was going to play out would kill any urgency to the plot but I didn't have that problem. Some would describe this is a gimmick but Shimmer Lake pulls it off pretty well. If you were to tell this story in chronological order, it would be pretty typical friends turn on friends whodunit. The movie wouldn't be awful but I would imagine it would lack the surprise it would need. It gives the movie something to standout from the crowd and it definitely helped keep me interested in what was going on.

Once you get past the obvious hook with Shimmer Lake, you're mainly looking at a story of a bank robbery gone bad. We've seen this in other movies but they do enough interesting stuff to keep you guessing. There are a lot of side-plots being interwoven into the main through-line that you don't get an explanation for till you see the end. This is a pretty delicate tightrope to walk but they also pull it off more than they don't.

Most heist/crime movies present a flashy atmosphere with an exotic locale, some well trained criminals and an over-the-top villain, that's not the type of movie that Shimmer Lake is. This is a story that takes place in a small mid-western town and the characters are grimy low-level thug types. They aren't bumbling idiots (except for one or two characters) but no one would confuse them for experts or skilled operatives. It makes for a more realistic picture but I doubt you'll come away liking many of these characters. No one seems to operate as morally black or white, they're all shades of grey and that may or may not be your thing.

While you would think that this movie would attract some well-known character actors, one of the more bizarre things about Shimmer Lake is who they decided to cast in these roles. The majority of the cast are comedic actors and yet I could only think of a few times where a joke was even attempted let alone when it worked. Although he wasn't the main character, Rainn Wilson was the standout. He's totally stripped of any of his comedic charm and he did a really good job playing a scumbag bank robber. I didn't like Benjamin Walker early in the movie but as the movie plays out, Zeke gets more fleshed out and I thought his performance got better. Stephanie Sigman does a decent job being mousy and laying in wait but her character has a lot more to her than she lets on. Wyatt Russell isn't in the movie very long but he makes the most of his opportunities. In the supporting parts, they cast charismatic comedic actors: Rob Corddry, Ron Livingston, John Michael Higgins and Adam Pally but they give them very little funny stuff to work with. To be fair, they're all fine but it was still confusing why they chose to do that.

Shimmer Lake isn't mind-blowing or earth-shattering but I enjoyed it in the end. It milks the telling the story backwards gimmick well and although the cast fills odd roles, they do their jobs effectively. The story also boasts enough twists in the narrative to keep you off base. I won't say this is must see entertainment but this is a solid choice for something to watch on Netflix.
What on earth was this?
Plot holes are common in the movies that have come out of Hollywood in the past three decades. Flashbacks and telling a story backwards are also quite common, in movies with uninspired plots, that would be unbearably boring, if the story was told in a chronological order. Even so, some films stand out for their glaring plot holes, others for their forgettable stories. Shimmer Lake has the distinction of standing out for both. The shallow characters and mediocre acting are minor annoyances, compared to the questions you are left with at the end: Someone actually got paid to write this piece of garbage? Someone actually read the script and said, yes this will make a good movie?

I'm struggling to find a single redeeming feature in this sorry excuse for a movie and the best I can think of is that the photography wasn't that bad, the camera was steady and the sound was as expected. So perhaps I should have given it a 3 instead of a 1, but it's IMDb rating was already above 6, which is incredible for such a low in modern film-making.
OK, I admit I was wrong about this movie.
**SPOILER? I checked yes as it's borderline, but if you've seen the trailer, then this review should be OK.

For the first time in all my many reviews, this film will be the first to receive two different reviews from me. Confusing? Let me explain.

1) Initial review: 4/10

From the start, and from reading the IMDb summary, I was expecting a Crime, Drama, Mystery. Then I got confused when at least two of the actors are know primarily for comedy, specifically Rob Corddry and Rainn Wilson. So the first flag went up.

The premise of the story, being told in parts going backwards reminded me of one of my favorite films, Memento, so thus I had the same high expectations going into this film.

From the start I was very disappointed. The characters where trying to play off some bad unnecessary humor, and it was, but it also explained why Corddry and Wilson where in it. But it was still bad, I guess bad enough that the Crime, Drama, Mystery classification intentionally left out Comedy.

Then as the film progressed in reverse chapters, I started to hate it even more, thinking I would have enjoyed it more (and rated it higher) if it was simply told in the old fashioned chronological order. From the first 10 minutes forward, the film was predicable. I pretty much nailed every chapter.

As I was watching from the start to about 90% to the end, I had already decided my 4/10 IMDb score with a lousy review cutting up this film to shreds. I couldn't wait for it to finish so I could slam this with negativity.

2) Second/final review: 8/10

So now we're at the last 10% ending of the film. All along I thought I had it figured out, constantly complaining how I would have enjoyed this more had this story been told going forward. Well, I was very pleasantly surprised... and wrong!

The way this was played out (backward chapters) had to be done so, for the ending to have the shock factor it had. My prediction of 'who-dun-it' and 'why' was way off!

It was so well done, my score went from 4/10 to 8/10! Granted, if the comedic actors where replaced by more serious actors, and the dumb humor was omitted from the script, I may have given this a 9/10 and maybe even a 10/10. The ending was that good, especially when I had so much hate for it in the first 90% of the movie!

I'm not sure why the writers/director chose the part-comedy portions but nevertheless, it was their decision and the ending still left a great impact on my final review.

So my final review stands at 8/10 due to the surprisingly and unexpected great ending!
Funny dark comedy.
I'm not sure why this film is considered a crime-drama. It is really a dark comedy and mystery told in reverse chronological order. It's certainly not a serious crime-drama at all. Unlike most comedies of this sort that make local police look like the buffoons and the FBI agents the serious crime fighters. This film spins things around by making the FBI the buffoons. The exception is the sheriff's sidekick who doesn't seem to get a chance to sit shotgun with his partner in the squad car. Almost always relegated to the back seat.

I thought it was creative and funny.
What Viewers Have Come To Expect From Taxdollar Movies
Sadly tax dollar movies have become synonymous with really bad movies. What can I say, the government should keep their input out of the arts and allow real artists a competitive chance to survive. Although this film may have been some talented actors this wasn't their finest hour and those people are without a doubt shelving this crappy movie behind grandma's 50 year old Christmas pudding.
Best dark humour I've seen since Fargo
Unlike other reviewers, I found many lines in this movie were brilliant, which kept me watching it even though it really seemed like a unforgettable plot until it got me well in the end. Seriously though, this is a drama/crime but definitely not a thriller. The acting was fine, and they were probably just having too much fun with those lines without even trying. Cinematography could be better with some hand-held and closeup together. Overall, it is a excellent black humour, and I will certainly watch it for a second time.
I was pleasantly surprised
At first, I thought this was going to be just a run-of-the-mill bank robbery movie. Boy, was I wrong. This movie had suspense, a well-written plot, and twists at every turn. And viewing the movie in reverse made the movie even that much better. Even towards the end, I didn't expect the clean-cut sheriff to be the bank robber. However, the stolen money was just a secondary compensation. Justice and vindication were the true motives.

Very enjoyable movie. I highly recommend it to anybody that's into the cops and robbers genre.
Could have been a lot better
There are two reasons you might make a film with a non-linear time line. The first is that you have a twist in your film, however the twist doesn't come at the end of your story so you need to make it happen at the end of your story (much like 'Memento' did). The second, and inferior, reason is that your film simply isn't unique enough on its own. 'Shimmer Lake' is a combination of both of these reasons I suspect. There's a twist of sorts which would have come at the beginning of the film and now comes at the end. But what they won't tell you is that by doing this it is also hiding the fact that this is a very run-of-the-mill story line told a thousand times over. I'm sorry, but it really is. There is nothing fresh here in that regard.

I feel like there were a lot of missed opportunities in this script as well. It should have been more fun. There should have been more reveals (or at least more important ones). As each day goes by backwards, it feels more like things are simply being confirmed for us, rather than taking us by surprise.

There's also a quite bizarre tone to the film. There are a few actors in the cast known primarily for their comedic talents. When they're on screen the whole film feels more like a comedy than anything else. Then when they're not on screen the film decides to take itself very seriously. In that respect the film is an absolute mess that looks like it has been dissected a hundred times over in the editing room. There was an idea here that could have been good, but that was as far as things got. Sadly this is a misfire.
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