Cast: Rachael Leigh Cook, Barbara Hershey, Patrick Swayze, Hilary Swank …
Director: Greg Marcks
Since Quentin Tarantino broke through over a decade ago and proved to a new generation of studio analysts that it was still possible to mess around with the traditional narrative formula without sacrificing the potential for commercial success, America has seen a slew of similar diced-up dramedies get the green light. As a result 11:14, written and directed by newcomer Greg Marcks, will inevitably draw comparisons – fair or not – to those previous films like Pulp Fiction, Memento, and the host of others that have been lumped together in our collective consciousness under the category of “movies like that.” But to summarize this captivating, original and skillfully symmetrical dark comedy by simply tossing it under that umbrella without taking a closer look would be doing yourself a disservice.
11:14 follows a collection of frustrated suburban teenagers and one stuck-in-a-rut family through one night in Middletown, USA where their need to feel alive sets in motion a series of sometimes unlikely but always unexpected chain of events that culminates with the literal and figurative intersection of their lives at 11:14pm. With the hand of a much more seasoned filmmaker, Marcks sets each of these independent and interrelated tales in motion in the attention-grabbing opening scene and has every loose end deftly tied-up with a bow on top just an all too short 85 minutes later. With an ensemble cast that includes Rachael Leigh Cook, Barbara Hershey, Patrick Swayze, Colin Hanks and two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank, the biggest surprise of all in 11:14 is that you’ve probably never heard of it.
That’s because even riding the small wave of critical acclaim that followed it’s festival release, and the gift-wrapped timing of co-star and executive producer Hilary Swank’s Best Actress Oscar for Million Dollar Baby, 11:14 was passed over for theatrical release in America and distributed direct-to-DVD with minimal marketing support. But their loss is your gain. Instead of spending the ten bucks it certainly would have been worth to see in the theatre, you get to pick it up whenever you want for half that price and watch it from the comfort of your own couch, something I certainly suggest that you do. After all, any time you have a chance to see a movie that is able to wind together accidental death by sex in a graveyard, a frantic late-night search for a severed penis and Rachael Leigh Cook in a plaid mini-skirt and toddler-size tube-top, all into a reasonably plausible plotline – my friends, that is a chance you take.