Film Stuff

Day 11: 11:14 (2003)

I really like being pleasantly surprised by a film. Especially ones that I go into with no prior expectations or pre-conceptions. Like Day 10, I’d never heard of this film before, but this time I ended up wondering why it didn’t make a bigger splash at the time.

11:14 is a very smart and taut (just 85 minutes) black comedy with overlapping storylines, which all intersect at the eponymous time. Following five sets of characters as they go about their nightly business, the film adds layers of clues and intrigue, cleverly building up a picture of inter-related lives and relationships, right up until the final, delicious, connection is unpeeled.

The impressive ensemble cast includes Colin Hanks, Ben Foster and Henry Thomas (the boy from E.T. last seen being horribly mutilated in Gangs of New York), and is bolstered by Patrick Swayze and Barbara Hershey offering veteran supportive clout.

The story (too convoluted to explain in detail) includes a bungling hold-up, a drunk driver, an over-protective father (Swayze – looking disturbingly like Gordon Ramsay) and a bunch of smack-able teens whose come-uppance is both horrific and very very funny. It also contains the most beautifully-choreographed skull-crushing this side of Hot Fuzz.

As well as being cleverly and tightly structured, the film never loses sight of its heart. The characters are beleaguered, but credible, with the hapless hold-up duo attracting the most sympathy. Sure, a couple of characters make dumb decisions (how many times can the same body be stuffed in a car boot?) and there might be some chronological imperfections, but nothing to undermine the story’s overall calibre.

If you haven’t come across this film before, and enjoy things like Get Shorty, Pulp Fiction or even Wonder Boys, I’d recommend you give it a try. It’s the most fun you’ll ever have involving a bowling ball and a severed penis.