CAPSULE: Comedy heist film has some funny scenes. But it loses its way somewhere along the line and only finds it again in the last twenty minutes. Desmond, a discontented bank clerk, falls in with his cinema-loving housemate's plan to rob Desmond's bank. The story feels padded to feature length. First-time director Jason Carvey directs his own screenplay and shows promise if not accomplishment. Rating: low +1 (-4 to +4) or 5/10
It is a pity that theaters no longer run double features. There once was a market for a short film, maybe 65 minutes long, that could be shown with a longer and stronger film. In the 1940s and 1950s there were lots of decent little B movies made at shorter lengths. This is not to say A NEW WAVE is that short. This is a 94-minute film that could easily lose thirty minutes and be a tighter and better film. But what market is there for a 65-minute film today? A NEW WAVE is positioned as a comic crime film and the comedy runs out in the first third and there is only about fifteen minutes of the actual crime execution and its results.
Gideon (played by John Krasinski of TV's "The Office") is a super-fan of all the old heist films. He is planning his own bank robbery with a strategy pieced together from bits of his favorite crime films. He needs the help of his friend and housemate Desmond (Andrew Keegan), a disaffected young bank teller. Desmond hates work and is conflicted about his future. He cannot commit to his job, to his talent as an artist, or to his girlfriend Julie (Lacey Chabert). Gideon and his friend Rupert (Dean Edwards) have planned the crime, but they need some help from the inside and they decide Desmond in their man. We follow them as Gideon convinces Desmond, and then the three go to buy the guns they will need from a very off-the-wall gun dealer. Then with the crime effectively planned Gideon, Desmond, and Julie go off in the countryside to play around at an abandoned drive-in theater with a kid's game gunfight. This might work with another director in control, but the characters just are not fun enough for the viewer want to hang around with. There is a subplot of Desmond's show at an art gallery. Much of this seems to draw us away from the essential plot.
The film seems to promise a comic crime film, but Jason Carey is no Donald Westlake. Much of the film is just about Desmond and his Generation X angst. An hour into the film one has the feeling that not much is happening and it keeps not happening until way too near the end. The robbery itself is a bit straightforward and humdrum. That is not necessarily a fault, but it is not much of a virtue either. Still the robbery itself is probably Carvey's best-written sequence with a feel of realism if not a satisfying complexity.
Veteran actor William Sadler, who plays Julie's father, serves only a reminder he has been in much better thrillers. Cinematographer Kambui Olujimi seems to have problems framing scenes without cutting off the tops of actors' heads. Jason Carvey feels like he is working too hard to fill a standard size script. This script was probably not ready to shoot and Carvey did not have the experience to make the most of what he did have. He shows signs he might develop into a more accomplished filmmaker. I rate A NEW WAVE a low +1 on the -4 to +4 scale or 5/10.
Film Credits: http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0421143/
Mark R. Leeper firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright 2007 Mark R. Leeper