Written by Rachel Freeman
Shimmer Lake is the latest Netflix original movie and it has quite the comedic all-star cast. Written and directed by Oren Uziel, it’s a dark comedy crime drama. That’s quite a mouthful. But it is, indeed, all of these things.
The story revolves around a trio, Ed (Wyatt Russell), who used to cook and deal meth, Andy (Rainn Wilson), a small-time lawyer, and Chris (Mark Rendall), a meth-head who “worked” with Ed. These men rob a bank owned by Judge Dawkins (John Michael Higgins), who is running for the Senate but has some skeletons in his closet he would do anything to keep from getting out. Sheriff Zeke Sikes (Benjamin Walker) and Deputy Reed Ethington (Adam Pally) are trying to find them before the FBI agents (Ron Livingston and Rob Corddry) do, mostly because Zeke wants to get to his brother, Andy, first.
The film tells the story in reverse, starting with Andy waking up on Friday, on the run after the robbery. Through conversations we can piece together a little of what happened. However, each day we take a step backwards to see what led up to the point we just saw, until we get to the final (first) day. And what a twist! I won’t lie, I really didn’t see it coming. I thought I had it figured out. I was close, but I was still wrong. The plot isn’t exactly a new one, with betrayal, cover-ups, trauma, and a small-town coping with events that simply “don’t happen in a place like this,” but by telling the story in reverse, we see the end first and watch the events unfold in a different way. It adds something new to an otherwise old story.
The film is intense in all the right places, but there are areas where the comedy feels forced in to break the tension, when it’s the tension that makes the scene great. I’m also not a fan of poop humor. There’s literally poop. However, some of the comedy comes through naturally and those parts shine. Although I enjoyed the movie, I think it would have been better if it wasn’t trying so hard to be funny. Parts reminded me of the Scary Movie series, where there’s just forced gutter humor. It’s off-putting and it doesn’t actually add anything to the plot. Honestly, Adam Pally as Reed Ethington was probably my favorite part of the movie. I just loved his character. His line delivery is on point.
I recommend you watch Shimmer Lake. It’s definitely enjoyable, even if it’s not what I was hoping for. All of the actors do an amazing job, despite certain “comedic” moments that just don’t need to be there.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
SHIMMER LAKE IS STREAMING ON NETFLIX