Dakota Kennedy, Loren Livy, VIctor Chen, P.J. King, Olivia Lemmon, Jacqi Vene, James MacEwan
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
Bryan C. Winn
Writer/director Bryan C. Winn's Thieves is an ultra-low budget heist flick with a solid ensemble cast bringing to life a familiar, occasionally engaging story involving a career criminal named Johnny (Dakota Kennedy) whose career takes a downward spiral when one particular job goes awry and he and his pregnant wife (Loren Livy) are captured by the right-hand goons of a crime boss they not so successfully tried to screw over. Before long, Johnny's left with a dead wife and no choice but to try to score one major hit in an effort to repay the boss and settle things up.
Of course, nothing goes quite as expected.
Filmed in black-and-white, Thieves is a low-budget indie that looks and feels like a low-budget indie. While that may sound like a slam, it's definitely not. There are pros and cons to it all and Winn is fairly successful at making it all work to his advantage even if the film, overall, is an overly familiar and not entirely successful effort.
Thieves doesn't really give you a good reason to invest in any of the characters, though Dakota Kennedy is definitely doing good work here and he makes Johnny a charismatic character if not an emotionally compelling one.
Otto Nilsson's music is similarly familiar yet, for the most part, effective, while Winn's vision for the film is evident throughout even if the ambitious effort doesn't always seem to quite live up to it.
There's enough promise here to be excited about where Winn might go next as a filmmaker. He employs some fresh techniques and keeps the film's 80-minute running time flowing crisply and with a fair amount of tension. While an occasional slow down in favor of character development and emotional investment would have likely been even more effective, there's definitely lots of good things happening here and a solid ensemble cast bringing it all to life.
For more information on Thieves, visit the film's Facebook page linked to in the credits.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic