Starring: Benjamin Walker, Wyatt Russell, Rainn Wilson
Director: Oren Uziel
Running Time: 83 mins
Shimmer Lake is an American film about the events that conspire in the aftermath of a bank robbery in a small town, with a number of long-time acquaintances involved on opposing sides of the law.
I love a bit of non-linear storytelling. It might seem easy to say that backwards chronology has been ‘done’ after the likes of Memento, but Shimmer Lake is a film that uses the narrative technique in a really sharp and immensely entertaining way.
The movie kicks into gear straight away with a completely bemusing yet darkly hilarious opening sequence, with the screenplay getting you to ask all the right questions as we meet our characters in the last leg of a bank robbery that seems to have gone horribly wrong.
Immediately establishing itself as a film with a lot of dark humour and even more mystery to unpack, Shimmer Lake totally hooks you within minutes, bolstered by its fantastic range of characters and excellent ensemble cast.
From the likes of Rainn Wilson and Wyatt Russell to the fantastically deadpan yet irresistibly charismatic Benjamin Walker, and a whole host of others, there’s no shortage of talent or energy on screen here, which becomes an absolute joy to feed off as the story begins to delve into what the hell actually happened.
Because of the reverse chronology, it’s a little difficult to go into much more detail without spoiling things, but huge credit has to go to the screenwriters here, as that backwards story works like clockwork.
It’s more than just a gimmick, as the revelations of what led up to each following day’s events turns what would have been a normal narrative into a series of really exhilarating mysteries, as you desperately try to unpack how everybody got to the point where they were.
And what’s even better is that the film doesn’t fizzle out like you might expect a story finishing at the start to do, but rather ending everything with a real gut punch finish, complete with yet more darkly hilarious twists.
Overall, I had a whale of a time with Shimmer Lake. A hugely entertaining crime thriller on the surface, the film counts on great humour, charismatic performances and above all an ingenious use of a reverse narrative to turn what could have been a run-of-the-mill story into a non-stop series of twists and turns. So, that’s why I’m giving Shimmer Lake an 8.1.