The soundtrack for Electric Slide oozes throwback Eighties cool: Suicide, X, Gang of Four, Psychedelic Furs, Depeche Mode.
The music has a gloriously dark sheen and undeniable pulse. The film itself, despite being based on a larger-than-life true story, is limp and anemic. Eddie “Gentleman Bank Robber” Dodson, a drug addict with a staggering habit, robbed 72 banks in his lifetime (64 of those within a nine-month period — still a record) to support that consumption and pay off loan sharks. He did more of the former than the latter, which makes for the film’s only semblance of narrative tension.
Directed by Tristan Patterson, this is part love letter to the Eighties (nightclubs, fashion, music), part half-baked character study of Dodson, and part reheated Bonnie and Clyde love story. All of it is enervated. Patterson seems more concerned with getting the surfaces right (costume design, production design) than tapping any of the adrenaline that should be pumping through bank robberies, love scenes, and confrontations with barking loan sharks — adrenaline we should feel even if the protagonist is meant to be cucumber-cool.
Jim Sturgess as Dodson is meant to be a charismatic, effete dandy. He merely comes off creepy. Vinessa Shaw, Chloë Sevigny, and Patricia Arquette are utterly wasted in nothing parts.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 1, 2015