Dominic (Eric Ortiz) lines up construction work for himself, his brother Michael (Jereme Badger) and his brother’s friend Ben (Anthony Ashmore), in an effort to make an independent life of it in Florida. Unfortunately, the trio doesn’t see much future in long hours of hard work under an abusive boss, and they get involved in a bank robbery to make a quick buck. Which, you know, always sounds good and easy in theory, but in execution it’s a shitstorm just waiting to happen.
Exit 727 is a tale of family, friendships and crime that isn’t all that different from other stories of a similar ilk. And as in those other tales, people get in over their heads, things get out of hand and tragedy ensues. Most of the hiccups that the film has can probably be traced to its low budget nature, however, as opposed to the familiarity of the narrative. The audio is a little too rough in some segments, for example. Regarding the style of the film, it can be heavy on the “tell” instead of the “show.”
To that end, once conversation amongst the group turns to a bank robbery, you want to see things progress in that direction a little faster. The film instead decides to focus on Dominic and Michael predominantly, though Michael offers little more than the junkie with a heart of gold, and most of the things we learn about Dominic aren’t shown via his actions so much as imparted in conversation by Michael. In other words, one character seems one-dimensional, and the other character apparently is rife with complexities and layers, but we’re not getting that naturally, we’re being told it. Thus, the impact isn’t as strong.
That said, it all makes narrative sense, however, so even though moments don’t always flow smoothly together, at least you’re not lost. Stylistic choices were made, and I didn’t always enjoy them, but I understood where they were coming from. By no means was watching this film an unpleasant experience, and I like that I wasn’t just watching a bunch of macho posturing (though it does exist to some degree), criminal philosophizing or someone doing their best to rip-off Tarantino.
To the film’s credit, it does attempt to frame the story in a more interesting way, via a conversation seven years after the fact, looking back on the events, and that allows for more interesting editorial and narrative massaging. Then again, the film also doesn’t seem to embrace the full creativity and freedom that this unique framing device offers either. If it did, maybe I’m talking about a film sharing the same memorable waters of The Usual Suspects, rather than a film that simply stays afloat in waters filled with less notable fare.
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