8.5/10 Some of my favorite film makers of all time have played with the concept of time, taking a normal, chronological timeline and turning it on its head. The films of Christopher Nolan and Quentin Tarantino come to mind. Here, we get a story told in reverse where we begin on a Friday (each day moves forward chronologically). Once the end of Friday concludes, we flash back to the beginning of Thursday. Then onto Wednesday and finally we end up at the beginning, the day of the film’s bank robbery, on Tuesday. The reverse order does add a lot to the film but it’s also a brilliant way of keeping us enthralled by what is going on. Even without the film’s use of time, there is still so much to admire about this film. In under an hour and a half, writer/director Oren Uziel is able to develop important characters, provide motivations, keep us guessing (despite having seen what comes next) and cover a wide array of emotions along the way. The film is well written and despite some very serious subject matter, we are able to have some genuine laughs along the way to break the tension. The cast is surprisingly loaded and Benjamin Walker’s leading role is some of his best, most subtle work. Due to the shorter running time, the pacing is phenomenal and the cinematography is extremely well done. Uziel is able to pull off the balancing act between bank heist, family drama, dark comedy and mystery thriller. Many films try to do too much and fail at every aspect but Uziel masters this juggling act. The film has many moments that stick with you after the film has ended, as well as a memorable setting that gives the film an almost Coen Brothers feel to it. As for the few negatives, a couple of plot points aren’t entirely original, Ron Livingston and Rob Corddry’s characters are funny but a little bit over the top at times, the score was forgettable and one scene has some absolutely blatant, in your face product placement for Wendy’s which stood out like a sore thumb. These minor issues will in no way detract from what is an enjoyable cinematic ride. Released in 2017, this was not a film I had heard much about or that had received much hype but this is one of the best Netflix original films I have ever seen. If you enjoy a unique twist on a familiar narrative with the perfect blend of multiple genres and don’t have too much time to watch something new, swim on over to “Shimmer Lake”.
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