After a tragic car accident leaves him with brain damage and the inability to function beyond a very basic level, a former high school hockey star turned lowely janitor at a bank finds himself drawn into a plot by a former classmate to rob the bank where he works in this taut thriller from screenwriter Scott Frank, who makes his directorial debut here.
Even though this is a crime thriller that belongs into the heist genre, this is ultimately a character study that happens to have crime elements to it. Basically you just mix a bit of Memento with Fargo and throw in a tale of struggle and redemption, and you have this movie.
And, you know what? I really enjoyed the end result. This is a solid film that surprised me with the emphasis on character over action, and how the crime elements are merely just part of the overall scheme of things instead of being the driving force. Of course, they are a big part of the movie, but they're not the focus, and that's cool.
You really grow to care about the protagonist, and you feel for how the events going on affect him, especially since he may not be as over his head as it seems. Don't worry though, Frank keeps this from getting too far into the maddening territory of twists common in the works of Christopher Nolan.
And it's not just the lead that you enjoy watching either. His blind roommate Lewis is a great character, and even the thuggih villain is rather compelling. It really helps too that the film has some great actors giving strong performances, especially Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the lead, Jeff Daniels as Lewis (who really steals his scenes), and Matthew Goode in probably his best performance as Gary the villain. You've also got a decent Isla Fisher as a femme fatale, and brief appearances by Carla Gugino and Alex Borstein, so that's cool too.
All in all, I really liked this and found it to be veryt compelling, engaging, and attention holding. I did take issue with a few thigns that kinda stretched some of the believabiolity, but I won't get into the specifics since that would involving some spoilers. Despite those little issues though, this is some good stuff, albeit maybe not the most memorable film ever (no pun intended). I'm torn on the rating, so let's split the difference and call it a trong B to a light B+.