This is how you make a movie about coming to terms with  disability into a gripping, edge-of-the-seat action flick.

This is how you make a movie about a shoot-em-up bank heist into a subtle study of humanity.

This is how you make a movie.

Writer/Director: Scott Frank Main Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jeff Daniels, Matthew Goode

 

 

Overall Rating: 39.75/40
Script: 10/10 every word, every scene, every character choice serves the story and moves it along – nothing is extraneous (right down to the shoelaces), nothing is left undone.

Direction: 10/10 So rare for a writer director, Frank does not put a step wrong – he just knows his craft.

Editing & Production: 10/10 Elegant, clean, like baby bear’s porridge: juuust right.

Performances: 9.75/10 An incredible ensemble. Jeff Daniels and Joseph Gordon-Levitt show us fully complex personalities effected by their disabilities but not based around them. Matthew Goode’s performance is particularly striking in its subtlety. So many actors playing a con-man talking with his mark will take to heart that con-men are such good actors and play whatever character is required for the con to perfection, leaving the character itself behind. Goode walks a delicate line expertly, playing a con-man playing his mark, affecting friendly interest and concern, projecting the self-confidence his mark longs to possess and so will fail to see the menace just barely hiding underneath. Definitely an actor to watch. The only glitch in this film is the slightly heavy-handed performance of Greg Dunham as the mostly silent “Bone” which often had me grimacing. Bone is the old hand criminal who has such trouble holding back his violent instincts he barely has the energy to speak as well. The character is essential to the dynamics of the group and the plot but it is played a little too Tarantino for this film. That’s being really, really picky though!

See this film.