Starring Luke Mitchell, Jason Ritter, Leven Rambin, Zane Holtz, Kris Kristofferson
It would take much less than seven minutes to fully sum up the lack of originality this new heist film brings to the genre. Art director turned writer/director Jay Martin certainly has some ambition with the film, but he doesn’t appear skilled enough in the editing department to make non-linear crime caper pay off. He doesn’t get a lot of assistance from the actors either, but their performances are directly affected by how the film is cut. We have one scene in which a bank is being robbed and, during that, we are flashed back for the bulk of the running time to get an idea of who the players are.
Sam (Mitchell) and his wife Kate (Ramblin) are not living out the fantasy life they dreamed up. They live in a tiny house and have a baby on the way. Sam just lost his job and is desperate for work, which leads him to his best friend Mike’s way of business. Mike (Ritter) is a drug dealer plain and simple; he doesn’t need it or use it, but certainly enjoys the undercut he receives from the local drug lord. Yet when the friends and their accomplice Owen (Holtz) lose the new stash they are destitute to pay the drug lord back by robbing a bank. These guys failed at high end drug dealing and their bank robbery doesn’t go smoothly either.
A more linear structure, while perhaps not as interesting technically, might have given the entire production a more suspenseful and dramatic feel.
Martin’s choice to tell the story in a form of backtracking (we get small pieces of the present day as we are constantly fed backstory) was an ambitious and unique one, but it ultimately ruins the natural progression of the film. A more linear structure, while perhaps not as interesting technically, might have given the entire production a more suspenseful and dramatic feel. What we have here feels fragmented and very detached. The violence of the film is all focused towards the final act when we finally remain in present day for longer than five minutes and, at one moment I was really hoping for the entire cast to meet their doom just to show me something exciting.
If 7 Minutes as a film was attempting to be edgy, it failed. Pretty boy Ritter (The East) is covered with tattoos and cheats on his girl, but that’s about the wildest thing that happens here. If you look at a film like Barry Levinson’s Bandits you will see a creative approach to one of the oldest genres. 7 Minutes lacks comedic undertone, which isn’t necessary for this type of film or the genre, but would certainly have distracted from much of the monotony. Pace is the movie’s biggest enemy; it drags, and when we realize that the big character titles don’t just apply to the main three, we realize this concept of characterization isn’t going work. When “KATE” is flashed on the screen near the very ending, as if there is much left to describe at that point, you really start to wonder about the film's methods.
The entire film could play out in about 7 minutes; everything else is unnecessary.