Shimmer Lake
Year:
2017
Country:
USA, Canada
Genre:
Crime, Drama, Thriller, Mystery
IMDB rating:
6.2
Director:
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.
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Reviews
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.
2017-06-10
Pretty Good Crime Thriller with Dark Humor and a Twist
A bank robbery has taken place in a small town. The story is told backwards. So the beginning of the movie starts the next day after the robbery, Friday. By the time you get to the last day, which is Tuesday, it explains what is really going on. It's way more than just a bank robbery.

I actually did figure this out by the middle of the third day. Pay attention to the clues, which includes the history of a certain event, notice the disposition of certain characters, plus it's styled sort of like Fargo.

It's a well told thriller which is nicely layered with dark humor, history, clues, and quirky characters.

If you like Fargo, Momento, Gone Girl, you'll probably really enjoy this.
2017-08-29
Tight little thriller worth a view
Read the plot summary, "OK, structured like Memento, let's see if it's original." Started out fair with nothing very compelling. Seemed like a standard small town crime story with nothing new beyond the backwards- in-time format. But definitely picks up along the way. Got more interested as I watched and it ultimately paid off very well! The structure truly served the plot and was not just applied to make it seem creative. It was inventive, tautly paced, well cut and an appropriate length. Give it a shot. You might even want to watch it again. I plan to.
2017-06-10
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!
2017-06-11
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.
2017-06-14
Dark, clever, engaging back-stepping mystery
If you loved Fargo, either the movie or the brilliant TV series, you will really like this movie. The writing is sly, clever, and funny in the midst of a tale of a small town bank heist by the gang who couldn't think straight. If the story had played out in time order, it might have been ordinary. But because the tale is told in reverse, stepping back one day at a time, the mystery builds in a way that I bet you won't see coming.

Even so, Shimmer Lake is more about the characters and what drives them than about the storyline. Other reviewers here have complained that they couldn't follow the story. I say: just focus on the characters and how they are toward each other to pick up clues along the way. I'm going back for a second viewing now with that in mind.
2017-06-24
Tone Deaf, Useless Gimmick
This review may contain spoilers.

Here are some notes I took while watching the film in real time. ( / indicates break in time taking notes)

Tone deaf. / Backwards plot, point? Casting? Three comedy actors for a crime drama. / Bad child actor, unrealistic writing for a kid / Stilted acting. / Why weren't there any police/FBI staking out Andy's house if there's a 10 state radius highway check? / He just left the house no problem When did cop get shot, why is he a part of the case if his brother is a key suspect? Conflict of interest. / FBI guys are completely stupid, you have to be smart to be in the FBI I'm pretty sure. / Gloves??? Crime scene?????? / Prediction: Rainn getting shot at the end by someone other than Ed. Brother perhaps? Deputy? One of them is in bed with the Hispanic lady. / Static shots of people talking... but cameras can actually move. / Gay prostitute because it's shocking and weird! Makes the character less sympathetic, cheap trick. Cliché that politician has a gay lover/man ho. / Very stilted acting, writing is not great at all. / When you poop it makes gross farting sounds every time! / Why was there blood pooled at the bottom of the stairs? Nobody tracked any blood, body was upstairs. (blood on bag maybe?) / Guess gay kid had time to wipe from massive dump cause that's a clean booty. / Amazing timing with radio, why didn't they just have the radio on and have them wake up when they hear their names? / There are no stakes/suspense when you know each new character introduced dies. / Is this a comedy or a drama? Jokes don't fit anywhere organically. Everything Stephane says is sarcastic, trying too hard. / Not local, it's a federal crime to rob a bank. If sheriff is so smart, how'd he not know that? Guess they just give up and let him take the case involving HIS OWN BROTHER robbing a bank. / What is the point of putting a mannequin in your bed if you live alone? I guess that's just Chris being dumb. If the highways are all blocked why wouldn't the airports be as well? Getting passports are a wast of time. / How did none of the bullets hit Steph? Was behind a cheap motel wall against 9mm Uzi rounds at the least, .45 ACP at most. / Motivation for an upper middle class prosecutor to rob a bank? Why is Rainn so aggravated with family for no reason? / Prediction: Is it not Ed's kid too? Why is she more upset and claiming he wasn't? Not his kid, affair. / Prediction: The look Steph gave when Rainn was trash talking his brother - they're banging and he is covering for her. Maybe his kid? Possible revenge against Ed/Chris/Rainn/judge for the kid dying. Got confession from Rainn earlier in film in a conversation that had nothing to do with kid dying. / Don't hold a gun like that. / Stilted acting again. / Brain matter? There would be brain matter there in the pool of blood. / Filling in a hole as big as a car would take for-freaking-ever.

No reason for backwards plot besides reveal that Ed died much earlier and they have same tattoo for some reason? Could've concealed the death better while keeping forward moving plot. Some points could be attributed to sheriff controlling where police are, etc. but still does not explain away that THIS IS A FEDERAL CRIME and that the FBI 100% have jurisdiction.

Those particular FBI guys had no reason to be in the film, didn't move plot forward in the slightest. Only were there to frustrate me. Also what is Rainn Wilson's character's motivation for robbing a bank? Seems pretty well off. Great sheriff who murders people for justice. We never had a chance to root for him. Literally called the twist 15- 20 minutes in. Comedic stuff was a waste in a story about a sheriff who had a bastard with his friend's wife taking revenge on the friend, his own brother, a judge, and some idiot for accidentally killing the bastard child, undermining his own job and everything it stands for.
2017-09-04
Gripping Movie
This movie shows us the events which unfold after a bank robbery, in reverse. It is a very gripping film that has you wondering right until the last scene. Great characters and dialogue, with a good mix of suspense and action. If you enjoy the movie, no doubt you will want to watch it again, since the movie is played in reverse chronological order. I think the decision to show the movie in this order was risky, but well executed. Great length, no filler... awesome movie!
2017-07-16
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.
2017-06-10
See Also
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