Shimmer Lake – Memento: Dark Comedy Edition

For my money, 22 Jump Street is perhaps the best comedy we’ve gotten in the last decade. It is neck and neck with This is the End for the funniest movie I’ve ever seen. It was quite a pleasant surprise to learn that the director and writer for this film was also a co-writer for the screenplay for 22 Jump Street. What’s more interesting now is that this guy is the writer for the upcoming Cloverfield film. So, did Shimmer Lake give me confidence that the next Cloverfield film will be any good? Without a doubt.

The next Cloverfield film could not be in better hands.

Here’s the synopsis from IMDb:

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.

This film was written and directed by Oren Uziel, a name we all have to become familiar with. It stars Rainn Wilson as Andy SikesBenjamin Walker as his cop brother Zeke Sikes, and Wyatt Russell as ex-convict Ed Burton.

There were many reasons to like this film, the main of which is this film’s dark comedy sensibilities. Although this film has a somewhat serious story that it is telling, it injects the right amount of goofiness and running gags in it to have have you laughing along with it. Another thing I enjoyed a lot was the storytelling structure. At first I was worried it would feel like a shameless rehash of Memento, but as it went along it took different approaches to certain things that differentiated it in a good way.

The biggest thing that detracted from my enjoyment, however, was the first 20 minutes. It all felt sort of odd to me, from the dialogue to the acting. It became way better once it got going, but I wish it would’ve started with a bang instead of a whimper. That was the only big glaring flaw for me, but there still were small annoyances, like the way it transitioned backwards from day to day. Although it was stylistically cool, it didn’t make much logistical sense. Also, certain lines in the film felt too forced and expository, which took me out of the film a little bit.

In conclusion, Shimmer Lake was a very good movie. It was a great directorial debut by Oren Uziel, well-written (for the most part), had a cool and inventive take on an already cool and inventive concept done by Memento, and made me laugh out loud, which isn’t a small feat. Although it had a bit of a rocky start, along with some small but annoying issues, the rest of the film certainly made up for it. Netflix made a great decision in acquiring this film, since it is just the beginning of a filmmaker that is sure to be a star in Hollywood.

Final Rating – 3.5/5.

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