The Killing Jar (2010)
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Critic Reviews for The Killing Jar
There's little fun involved, for either the audience or the diner patrons.
What dribbles out is a series of repetitive, dull, clichéd showdowns until most of the cast is gruesomely dispatched and the twist-that-isn't-a-twist is revealed.
Mark Young's bargain-basement thriller is as witless as the captor's motive; to paraphrase another well-dressed Madsen psycho, this little doggie barks, but it has no bite.
Audience Reviews for The Killing Jar
One really brutally wicked simple isolated thriller where the elimination process really plays a sticky part in keeping you riveted to the screen. What started out as a simple quiet evening in a roadside diner between some folks turned out to be a massacre that is orchestrated by one man. Jimmy (Danny Trejo) and his waitress Noreen (Amber Benson) have just decided to close up the kitchen, when they heard on the radio that a homicidal maniac has just eliminated a family of innocent folks. Shortly after that broadcast was made a suspicious looking truck driver named Doe (Michael Madsen) walks in and makes demands for service. After being singled out and made everyone edgy by his hostile behavior...he leaves..but brings back a world of hurt and fury that was so unimaginable. See this really wicked and shocking tale as it unfolds in front of your eyes. You will never view a diner the same way ever again.
One line summary: Nice character driven small film.
The film is shot in a diner (the Copal Grill) in a small town called Silver Lake, where the lake has dried up some years back. Jimmie is the manager/owner/cook, Noreen is the waitress on duty during the film, Dixon is the man passing through from a conference to his home in Brooklyn. Lonnie is one of the local cops; Hank sort of lives at the diner. Doe blows in after the group heard the story of a family of four getting murdered in a nearby town. He immediately gets on Noreen's case, and pisses Jimmie off.
Lonnie is one of the dullest tools in the shed, and he does not pick up on Doe being a possible problem. Noreen convinces him to talk to the man. He does. Doe leaves, then comes back with a fully loaded multi-shot shotgun. He kills Lonnie and Jimmie immediately for the insults.
Noreen, John, Hank, and the two teen-aged kids are stuck in the diner with Doe. For a short while, Doe seems to have everything under control, but then Greene walks into the diner. Greene brings money to pay 'Mr. Smith' for the job completed. Greene tries to walk out, but Doe informs him that he is not Smith. Of course, we've already met Smith; we just have to find out who it is.
Greene attempts to bargain with Doe. That does not work. Turns out it was a real estate deal that Greene wanted to complete to avoid vengeance from loan sharks. To cure his problem, Greene hires an enforcer to convince the farmer to sell his land. So the enforcer did the murders of the family that the diner heard about earlier.
Do we discover who the enforcer is? Does anyone escape from Doe?
Cinematography: 7/10 Iffy at best, but the lighting in diners does suck.
Sound: 9/10 Pretty good; all the actors were well-miked.
Acting: 9/10 Good. I liked Madsen, Busey, Benson, Perrineau, and Gage quite well. Trejo's part was small, but he was good for the spot.
Screenplay: 8/10 Nicely done.
How much pain can you endure?
A stranger walks into a local dinner shortly after a report airs that someone has brutally killed a local farm family. The police officer at the bar jumps to conclusions and assumes the man in the bar is the one responsible for the murder. The patron gets offended, goes out to the car, gets a shotgun, and kills the police officer. Shortly after the shooting a guy comes in with money to pay the man responsible for killing the farm family. Is the guy with the shotgun the killer of the farm family, or is it someone else and things are about to get complicated...
"Are you a killer?"
"Yeah, if you count the wildlife I hit with my car."
Mark Young, director of Tooth and Nail, Southern Gothic, Phreaker, and the upcoming Wicked Blood and A Glass Darkly, delivers The Killing Jar. The storyline for this picture is actually pretty fascinating with great characters and a fantastic script. The action scenes are beautiful and the acting was better than I anticipated. The cast includes Michael Madsen, Harold Perrineau, Danny Trejo, Amber Benson, Kevin Gage, and Lew Temple.
"I can't do this mister. I'm going to be sick."
"Then be sick. Do what I told you."
I caught this movie off Netflix because the cast was interesting and the premise seemed worthwhile. There were aspects of this movie that felt like blatant rip-offs from Tarantino's early work, specifically Reservoir Dog, but I tried not to hold that against this film. I definitely enjoyed watching it unfold and found this to be slightly underrated. I recommend seeing this picture for sure.
"I guess it can't rain forever."
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