Shimmer Lake (2017)
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Critic Reviews for Shimmer Lake
Shimmer Lake proves there's something extra tragic about watching comedians play dress-up in a movie that fails to be funny.
Shimmer Lake requires attention be paid, or prepare for a head-scratching conclusion as the pieces finally align for the story's end game. Or maybe that's the beginning game?
Almost comical, not-quite suspenseful, right on the cusp of "Netflixable."
By the time you make it to the end of Shimmer Lake and have unraveled the mystery, the film has finally hit its stride, so much that you'll want to start it up again to watch with the foreknowledge of what everybody's up to.
Shimmer Lake takes a simplistic story and breathes new life through the use of reverse storytelling, a beautiful muted color scheme, and strong performances from its cast.
Audience Reviews for Shimmer Lake
I find movies, and or stories, that are told in reverse to be interesting. It's similar to a trope used in movies where they start at the beginning and the rest of the movie is finding out everything that led to that very moment. I remember there was one episode of Battlestar Galactica (the reboot) that started like this, where the end is the beginning, and I listened to the DVD commentary by Ronald D. Moore (creator of this reboot) and he mentioned something interesting, at least as far as I can remember. He mentions that, at least in television series, this 'end is the beginning' trope is used to dress up an episode that, without it, wouldn't be interesting or compelling to the viewer. And there's something to that, even if the episode might still not end up being that good, there's some sort interest in seeing where that episode might go as a result of how it started. With that said, however, I don't think this really applies to movies, or at least movies that play in 'reverse', so to speak. In this one, as an example, I believe you start off on Friday and you work your way back through the rest of the week, until Tuesday (I believe) to find out the truth. I mean, I guess the same point could be made for films like this, since the same principles apply. You work your way backwards to find out what happened as a result of the fact that your script might not have been that interesting without it. But what I have to say to that is the fact that movies, much unlike television series, aren't as long-running. In a show, this might be a plot device that is used to spice up an episode of the show that's been on the air for years. Movies, naturally, aren't long-running television series and the choice to tell the story in reverse feels like something that's more by design, as you have to purposely have to craft a story where, again, everything plays out logically and you don't blow your wad and reveal the whole plot at what is, technically, supposed to be the end point. And it's a choice that, to me, is incredibly beneficial to this movie. Obviously, it can't be told in the 'correct' order, as that would reveal who the culprits behind this bank robbery were, but I really did enjoy the manner in which the story was told in this movie. Because, while I'm not gonna say that this is a densely packed with clues and hints when compared to a film like Hereditary, I think there are enough of those clues and hints packed in the movie to make watching it incredibly rewarding. Connecting the dots as to certain scenes and lines and how, later on, they may have ended up playing a part in the overarching narrative was really satisfying. It's interesting to play out all the scenarios in your mind and seeing how Ed, Andy, Judge Dawkins and Chris are all connected, because there's clearly some sort of connection between all of them. And, early on, the pieces start falling into place as Stephanie (Ed's wife) seems to be the one orchestrating and manipulating everything around these guys. The thing about the movie is, though, that they're very open about the fact that Ed, Chris and Ed Jr, Steph's son, were in this meth lab explosion that ended with the accidental death of Steph's (and Ed's) five-year-old son. Ed and Chris ended up serving something like eight months as a result of them bribing Andy, a former prosecutor, who dropped the manslaughter charge. Dawkins was bribed as a result of this video that Ed had of him having sex with a male prostitute. So, essentially, very early on, you can tell that Steph is involved in this for revenge, she wants to make the people who were responsible for her son's death, and those that were responsible in them getting off so easy, pay for what they did. But, naturally, the movie is not as simple as this. What would be fun about this? You know who's involved early on and you know her reasons for doing it, so you can obviously tell that there's something more, someone else involved. I actually figured it out a couple of minutes before it was revealed and, really, it makes sense given everything that had happened prior to that point. It's not a twist for the sake of one, because the movie had set the groundwork for this reveal very early on. Another thing I liked about the movie was how the bank robbery itself is this big talking point, naturally speaking, around the town, the cops and the FBI. So one creates this image in their mind of something that was epic and tense. Like something out of an action movie or Grand Theft Auto 5. But the robbery itself, honestly, might be the worst robbery I've ever seen in a film. And I don't mean that it's of shitty quality, but the robbery is poorly executed by design, to the point that it makes all of this build up kind of laughable in the best possible way. Every image you might have had of this robbery is incredibly wrong and, once again, I think the movie is actually better for it. Because, realistically speaking, Ed, Chris and Andy were not experienced bank robbers. Really, they're just kind of a bunch of morons. The movie, obviously, has darkly comedic tone. One of the funnier running gags is the fact that Reed (the deputy), at the start of every day, is forced to ride in the backseat of his partner's, Zeke (the sheriff and Andy's brother) cop car because he's giving a ride to someone else. It's a silly little bit, but it's funny and, once again, the movie has a Coen-esque approach to its comedy livening up its more serious bits. Perhaps it's not as expertly implemented as the Coens have done, since they've been injecting dark humor into serious moments, for over thirty years, but it works really well in this movie. The cast is also really strong all around. No one really stands out in any particular way. What I mean by that is that there's no one here that's better than everyone else and sticks out like a sore thumb (in a good way), everyone is really good and incredibly consistent in their roles. So, yes, you could say that I was a fan of this movie. I don't know, I just really liked this quite a lot. No movie is perfect and I'm certain this isn't gonna be up everyone's alley, but I enjoyed myself tremendously with this movie, its narrative, tone, characters and dark humor that I would, quite easily, give this a recommendation. Surprised I waited this long to watch this movie, but it was definitely worth the wait.
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