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“Bills, bills, bills! I can’t take it anymore!” The plot of many payday loan advertisements is also the protagonist’s generic motivation in 7 Minutes, writer-director Jay Martin’s heist-gone-wrong thriller, although stone-faced Sam’s debtor’s lament is a lot more expressionless and flat. Possessed of C. Thomas Howell charisma, Sam (Luke Mitchell) becomes entangled in a drug deal gone boringly wrong, resulting in a bank heist that goes idiotically wrong.
The seven minutes of the bank robbery are intercut with lengthier flashbacks relating how Sam and his gang reached this sorry predicament. The heist itself is incredibly unfocused as a piece of storytelling, with flashback characters just sort of wandering in off the street, resulting in a horrific, meandering bloodbath.
High points include a vicious thug who wears Natty Bumppo fringe jackets, a drug dealer who makes terrible Brothers Grimm analogies, depressing Rust Belt backdrops, and Kris Kristofferson’s lethargic drawl (“Well, shweet cheeksh — did yuh learn yer lesshon?” “One uh yew shuckers got a shigarette?”) Leven Rambin is soulfully appealing as Sam’s pregnant girlfriend, though she’s basically restricted to generic dialogue like “Someday, you and me, we’re gonna get out of this town.”
Martin’s camera is static, most scenes consisting of nothing more than cuts between talking heads, minimal staging, and small-town gloom. Unlike guilty-pleasure Guy Ritchie crime films, in which vivid characters and unlikely subplots converge in lush visual mayhem, 7 Minutes is humorless and perfunctory, its heavies and protagonists never so much as aspiring to transcend or challenge the stereotypes they represent.
Written and directed by Jay Martin
Starz Digital Media
Opens June 26
Available on demand