Rich (Collin Ware), Ed (Matthew Rhode) and Henry (Ryan Andrew Balas) are masters of the con, getting ready to graduate to a bank robbery. Guns, masks and screaming just isn’t their style, however, and the trio sets out to do it in the way most befitting their grifter skills: by becoming bank employees, and robbing it from the inside. It’s a plan that requires an abundance of patience, however, as it’s not like new employees just get the key to the vault on day one. You’ve got to prove yourself over the long term.
And thus, the trio essentially get jobs at the bank. Henry as a security guard, Rich as the janitor and Ed as a teller. As they wait out their end game, they bond more and more with the unique personalities of the small town bank; particular Rich, who begins to fall for teller Annette (Beth White), while his brother Ed kind-of-sort-of woos Elizabeth (Deirdre Herlihy). Oh, and there’s Carl (Mark Robert Ryan), the annoying guy no one likes.
Darren Marshall’s The Kings of Yorktown is a fine, understated film. With a leisurely pace that benefits the idiosyncrasies of the characters, it comfortably draws you in. The film could’ve turned overly dramatic or gone for madcap comedy at any time, but it stays true to its form and the result is far better than one would imagine it could be.
It’s hard to explain, the film just has this unique, smooth groove going for it. And no, it’s not boring; aspects of it actually reminded me of the more subtle, brilliant moments of The Office (you know, when the jokes are just quietly happening and no one is pointing them out). I don’t know if the vibe is for everyone, but I was thoroughly entranced by it.
And for the record, the film opens with one of the more amusing sequences I’ve seen in recent years. The sequence, co-starring filmmaker Joe Swanberg as a bartender, sets the film up perfectly. If you find yourself really enjoying the opening, or at the very least engaged to find out what will happen next, then the rest of the film is for you, because the opening contains bits of everything that makes the rest of the film so great.
While I wasn’t entirely thrilled with filmmaker Darren Marshall’s previous feature, Crescent City, I absolutely loved this one. The films don’t seem like they were written and directed by the same person, they’re that different. Considering the artistic leap I’ve witnessed between the two, I’m in; I want to see what he comes up with next.
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