AVAILABLE ON AMAZON PRIME VIDEO ON DEMAND! Heist thrillers typically begin with planning the heist, during which the characters power through unanticipated complications. The third act is all about the fallout of the heist as the criminals contend with life-altering consequences. Hurry Monday, the indie thriller written and directed by Vaughn Christion, doesn’t follow suit and starts in medias res with the protagonist, Nedraphine “Nat” Ramos (Sofia Salgado), running away from two men in a car. A dramatic score and handheld camera movement coincide with Nat running, with decaying warehouses and empty parking lots being the perfect backdrop to imply an absence of help and safety.
After Nat is run over, the two men drag her body but are ambushed by David (Owen Hu), Nat’s longtime friend. A tightly choreographed fight erupts between David and the two men. Nat and David were double-crossed on a job to steal gems. She finds herself with the stolen gems but without David. Consequently, Nat must fence the gems while evading her former partners in crime.
Hurry Monday is, for the most part, an engaging crime thriller. The opening sequence is brisk and well-choreographed, reinforcing the risks involved with illicit activity. From this point forward, Nat is propelled down a path of perfidy, grief, and paranoia. While the action scenes following the opening sequence don’t match up, Sofia Salgado keeps you glued to the screen. She gives a riveting performance as an iron-willed, vigilant, and self-reliant thief venturing through the seedy underbelly. Despite knowing very little about Nat’s backstory and her processing of emotions, the actor’s deployment of unyielding stares and minatory inflections instills the character with poise, making it appear as if Nat has been conducting business with criminals for years.
“…Nat must fence the gems while evading her former partners in crime.”
As Nat reconnects with people from her past, there is a stagnant quality. The supporting actors aren’t as convincing as Salgado. A tense moment between Nat and a fitness trainer (Lorenza Bernasconi) feels abrupt; an easy fix would be adding more layers of mistrust to their interaction. But Nat does have good chemistry with Nate (Crawford Hazelwood), another longtime friend and her reliable source of all things crime.
Nat can usually take care of herself and knows her way around a knife and gun, but her desperation begins to cloud her judgment. Lucky for her, her ex-boyfriend Dale Matthews (Wesley Renard) is more than willing to assist her. Of course, Nat and Dale being near each other stir up past feelings. But the film could have gone without, as Nat is fascinating on her own.
Minus some inconsistencies in sound and editing, Christion sufficiently boasts the characteristics (low-key lighting, suspicious characters, sketchy meetups) and themes (betrayal and regret) of a crime picture. In addition, the filmmaker coaxes out a lived-in performance from Salgado and offers a few narrative surprises. In Hurry Monday, Christion had fun with the criminal antics and made good use of the New Jersey locales. When all’s said and done, this is an enjoyable contribution to the indie heist genre.
For screening information, visit Hurry Monday on the Film Freeway website.
"…had fun with the criminal antics and made good use of the New Jersey locales."