STARRING Matthew Rhode, Collin Ware, Ryan Andrew Balas, Deirdre Herlihy, Beth White, Mark Robert Ryan, Joe Swanberg WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY Darren Marshall MPAA RATING NR RUNNING TIME 99 Mins. DISTRIBUTED BY Independent OFFICIAL WEBSITE
"The Kings of Yorktown" is a Good Old-Fashioned Indie Gem
An official selection of this year's Indy Film Fest, Darren Marshall's The Kings of Yorktown is a rather remarkable achievement and a vast improvement over Marshall's first feature film, Crescent City.
The Kings of Yorktown centers around brothers Ed (Matthew Rhode) and Richard (Collin Ware) along with their friend, Henry (Ryan Andrew Balas), three con men on their way to what they hope will be the big leagues - a bank heist. Rather than utilizing brawn and bravado, our trio of tricksters opts for the more patient route by each landing themselves jobs in hopes of laying their hands on the keys to the bank vault.
Of course, nothing quite goes as planned.
The brothers end up falling for fellow bank employees Annette (Beth White) and Elizabeth (Deirdre Herlihy), while trying to deal with Carl (Mark Robert Ryan), that employee that every business has that you just can't help but despise.
While Crescent City was a terrific idea that never completely gelled, The Kings of Yorktown gets into a rhythm early and almost never misses a beat during its entire 99-minute running time. It helps, of course, that the film features a mighty fine ensemble cast with Collin Ware and Matthew Rhode proving particularly impressive. To be fair, singling out anyone is difficult as there's not a weak link in the bunch and virtually everyone in the film is given time to shine.
Minus kids, The Kings of Yorktown actually reminded me quite a bit of one of my favorite "underrated" films, the Steve Zahn-led Happy, Texas. While The Kings of Yorktown has far more serious moments, the two films possess a similar laid back charm and off-kilter vibe that proves to be infinitely compelling in both cases. The Kings of Yorktown is the kind of film for which you'll stop whatever you're doing after a few minutes just so you don't miss anything.
Nathan Sandberg's original music is terrific, while Marshall himself lenses the film with an eye on the film's quieter moments that are at times so quiet that if you're not paying attention you just might miss them. Joe Swanberg makes a guest appearance in a delightful scene early in the film, while the film for the most part achieves the perfect balance between comedy and drama. There's quite a few indie filmmakers out there who have tried a film such as this one, but most end up with an effort that is uncomfortable and awkward. The Kings of Yorktown isn't a flawless film, but it is a consistently entertaining film that marks tremendous growth for Marshall and absolute excitement at wondering just what he'll do next.
For more information on The Kings of Yorktown, visit the film's website listed in the credits.