out of Five
Running time: 86
The tone is a little off and it doesn't quite come together but for the most part this is an enjoyably twisty, darkly comic thriller with strong comic performances.
What's it all about?
David Schwimmer plays Charlie, a call-centre employee married to a cop (Natascha McElhone). Bored at work, he befriends his devious colleague Gus (Simon Pegg) and swiftly gets caught up in a blackmail scheme devised by Gus and his scarily intense girlfriend Josie (rising British star Alice Eve).
Unsurprisingly, things go horribly wrong and it's not long before the hapless trio are knee-deep in corpses. To make matters worse, Charlie's wife is on the case, assisted by a hotshot FBI investigator (Jon Polito).
Jean-Baptiste Andrea is clearly aiming for a Coen Brothers vibe with this darkly comic thriller and there's the occasional moment where he almost pulls it off. His direction is extremely inventive at times and the script piles on the twists in a bewildering fashion, to the point where you suddenly realise that you're not meant to be taking it that seriously (see also the final 15 minutes of Wild Things).
The performances are excellent: Alice Eve steals the film with a sexy, dangerously amoral performance, whilst Pegg's impeccable coming timing nets him several big laughs, even if his accent slips a bit during his shouty scenes. Schwimmer's pretty good too and there's a clever scene where you're made to feel guilty for finding him annoying.
The main problem with the film is that Andrea slightly misjudges the
tone: the nasty bits are too nasty and several of the characters don't really deserve their fates. In addition, the ending is unsatisfying although you have to admire Andrea for not copping out (he was surely asked to change it at least once during production).
In short, this is an entirely watchable comedy thriller, even if it doesn't quite come up to the Coen Brothers standard.