Shimmer Lake (film review)

The Baker's review(with spoilers)

What interested me about Shimmer Lake was that the movie was written in reverse sequence of what happened.

The movie is centered on a small town where everyone is familiar with everyone else and suddenly, there's a robbery which leaves the sheriff shot and a huge amount of money stolen.

The movie starts out with the sheriff of the town visiting a house which we later learn is his brother's house as well as one of the bank robbers. The brother escapes from the house by stealing a neighbor’s car which cuts to a scene with the sheriff picking up his partner and having him sit in the back because he was driving the man whose car was stolen.

The partner driving at the back of the car each day becomes a running joke as the events of the movie happen over 5 days with the partner sitting at the back each time. The investigation of the bank robbery leads to the finding of the owner of the bank dead( a judge in the town) and we later find out that he had a hand in the robbery due to being blackmailed because of a video proving he was gay.

Over the next few days, the movie backtracks, showing us the life of each person involved in the bank robbery and their motives. We get introduced to the sheriff’s brother; a disgraced prosecutor suspected and later confirmed in the movie of taking a bribe to take manslaughter off the charge of another member of the bank robbery who killed his child in a meth lab explosion. We also get introduced to the last bank robber who is a meth user with a bit of a mental defect due to drugs.

The movie ends in a plot twist when we find out the sheriff killed two of the bank robbers including his brother for the role they played in the death of his child in the meth lab accident. It turns out that with this being a small town, the sheriff had an affair with one of the robber's wives and had a child which the bank robber thought was his.

My take on this film

Shimmer Lake caught my eye because of it’s promise to be a story told in reverse. I thought finding clues and fixing the puzzle of whatever was going to happen would be fun.

It was directed by Oren Uziel, and was released on Netflix on June 9,2017. Apparently, it was Oren’s first film as a director.

Because of how closely knit the characters in this small town are, it very quickly adjusts itself into presenting glimmers of the famous ‘familiarity breeds contempt’ trope. This also helps in adding complexity into the capabilities of the characters, because as we all know, you really can’t be sure of a person no matter how much you think you know them.

Sheriff Zeke, and his partner Reed Ethington were charged with investigating the death of a judge(Judge Dawkins) and the Sheriff’s brother, Andy, a disgraced prosecutor who’d participated in a bank robbery with two others(Ed and Chris) in what initially feels like two unrelated incidents, but as mentioned earlier, in a small town, very little turns out to be coincidence. Especially crime. Especially crime that involves the death of an child in a meth lab. Especially crime in a city where men talk about fvking the same women. Oh, the secrets that can be found in such a town.

This film does a good job at turning everything on it’s head in a subtle way. It’s not like an abrupt change of events. It builds up gradually to the grand revelation of who the characters truly are, so that even though the surprise element is there, it actually transitions nicely into this acceptance of the plot twists as it all makes sense. And that’s what I liked about it.

It was after watching this film that I realized that it was meant to be a funny film because the cast is made of comedians. I can’t even say I found elements of black humor except for the one place where Judge Dawkins was crying in his bedroom and his wife tried to comfort him by saying ‘Sometimes, boys need to be around other boys’, not knowing that he was gay and that he was actually having a breakdown from mistakenly killing Chris and from the blackmail threat from Ed after he’d been found with his teenage gay lover. She just thought he meant he needed some space and time to hangout with his friends since he kept talking about both of them leaving to rest someplace, and well, his talk about how he wished he was a better husband. There’s no coming clean after that kind of thing, not even to such a sweet and considerate wife.

And that's it from both of us! Till our next review, that is.

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