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The Independent Critic

Koko Marshall, Alexander Hearth, Willie D. Davis IV, R.C. Sayyah, Vinh Nguyen, Summer Rain Menkee, Tay Jones
Rick Ives
97 Mins.
Indie Rights

 Movie Review: Solid Rock Trust 
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Solid Rock Trust writer/director Rick Ives isn't likely a household name, though I'm fairly certain you've benefited from behind-the-scenes work on such films as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Avengers: Endgame, Avengers: Infinity War, and Scorsese's Hugo. 

Okay. Okay. Maybe you're one of those weirdos who doesn't go to the movies that often. So, maybe you've benefited from his work on such shows as The Mandalorian, Loki, Ruthless, and The Man in the High Castle. 

The point is, I suppose, that while you may not recognize the name Rick Ives, he's one of many behind-the-scenes players in Hollywood with an abundance of talent working in ways we probably don't even understand to make sure when we sit down with a movie or a television series that we enjoy ourselves. 

So, hey, it's always pretty cool when such a valued role player steps into the spotlight to take the reins of a motion picture. Ives, long respected for his work in the editing arena, is front-and-center of the indie motion picture Solid Rock Trust, an intriguing and engaging heist thriller starring Koko Marshall as a mastermind hacker who organizes a most extraordinary bank heist from a seemingly safe and secluded abandoned building. Armed with cell phones rather than guns, Marshall's Maddie is a hacker with a moral compass whose methods may not be foolproof but she's certainly no fool. 

After existing largely within the realm of mega-budgeted cinema, it's fun to watch Ives maneuver his way around this deceptively simple set-up that takes place almost exclusively in one setting and for most of its 97-minute running time with only one visible character. To say that Marshall has to carry this film would be an understatement. 

Carry this film Koko Marshall does. 

Picked up by Indie Rights, a growing and respected indie distributor, Solid Rock Trust is the kind of film you sit down with on a Saturday night convinced you can fold your laundry, drink a glass of wine, and watch something mindless on the tube. It doesn't take long to realize, however, that Solid Rock Trust may not be action-packed but it's far from mindless as it quickly becomes apparent that this elaborate bank heist isn't about the money behind the vault. 

It's about a whole lot more. 

It's inevitable, of course, that things begin to fall apart. They always do in this kind of motion picture. Things don't go as planned, yet Ives never really deviates from the plan to keep Koko Marshall's Maddie front-and-center here despite momentary distractions and even personal betrayals. There's an unexpected layer, of course, though I'm hesitant to reveal it here. Suffice it to say that while Maddie will certainly benefit from this epic heist so will an awful lot of other deserving folks. 

That's right. Deserving folks. You have to watch it to believe it. 

As Maddie, Koko Marshall captivates. While the accent work she carries on with each of the different key players is more than a little hit-and-miss, Marshall sells it with such conviction that you never mind when it doesn't feel quite right. You can't help but think there's a whole lot more of an origin story within Maddie, though for the most part Ives keeps it clear and simple and keeps Solid Rock Trust's focus on the matters at hand. There's only a momentary diversion involving a realtor that temporarily distracts, perhaps a powerful reminder that Maddie isn't nearly as secluded as we're initially led to believe. 

It shouldn't come as a surprise given Ives's background that Solid Rock Trust is a well edited motion picture with emotional resonance galore and a heightened sense of menace and possibility. We're never quite sure what's going to happen here, though there are just enough gaps in Maddie's plan for us to realize that just about anything could happen.

Lensing by Dakota Curtis is taut and observational with an occasional enveloping of the entire scene that leaves us a little dizzy. Joey Westerlund's original music amplifies the atmosphere and leans into the inherent drama. 

Solid Rock Trust is an engaging heist thriller led by the charismatic performance of Koko Marshall and the intelligent, emotionally honest storytelling by Rick Ives that creates a heist thriller where the thrills are often more internal than external. Available now via streaming from Indie Rights.

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic