Dir: Simon Brand
Star: James Caviezel, Greg Kinnear, Bridget Moynahan, Joe Pantoliano

If somewhat contrived, I can't deny the intriguing possibilities of the central concept. Five men wake from unconsciousness to find themselves locked inside a remote warehouse. One has been shot. Another tied-up. None of them can remember how they got there or who they are. It slowly becomes apparent that the men are involved in a kidnapping, but who are the victims and who the perpetrators? And can they work it out before the rest of the gang, who are off attempting to collect the ransom, show up and end the discussion? Obviously, it's a completely implausible situation - it requires the McGuffin of a gas canister, which conveniently proves capable of having exactly the same effect on them all, despite their differing builds and distances from it. It does, however, give first-time writer Matthew Waynee a convenient scenario in which fragments of memory can drift back whenever dramatically necessary. This is, frankly, a cheat, and after a while the gimmick become more grating than interesting.

It's certainly an impressive cast for Brand to assemble, especially because it's also his first feature. However, the claustrophobic potential is diluted by scenes outside the warehouse, in which we see the rest of the ransom unfold, such as the pick-up of the ransom, delivered by the wife (Moynahan) of one of the victims. The further things progress, the less interesting this becomes, until we reach an ending which has got to rank up there as among the most implausible in recent history. It wants to be something like The Usual Suspects, as well as the movies listed below, yet forgets that any such aspirations have to be centered on a strong script. Brand appears to be trying to coast through on the concept and cast alone and, while the former is certainly novel and the latter lends weight, they are not enough in themselves to make for acceptable cinema.

[August 2009]

And best left that way
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