This heist movie doesn't reinvent the wheel, but fans of the genre will have a good time nonetheless.
Now more than ever, it seems as though the general public sympathizes with those forced to commit criminal acts in order to provide for their families. With the current economic climate in the United States, people who would otherwise live their lives on the straight and narrow now seem more inclined to turn towards illegal activity in order to pay their bills. As a result, we as a society seem more likely to connect with characters who, despite being generally good people, find themselves in shady situations. Thus is the case with Jay Martin’s 7 Minutes, a typical “heist gone wrong” film that, for better or worse, focuses more on the events leading up to a robbery than the actual robbery itself.
After being laid off from his job, Sam (Luke Mitchell) grows desperate to make enough money to provide for his girlfriend Kate (Leven Rambin) and their unborn child. His brother Mike (Jason Ritter) suggests getting into the drug dealing business with him. Along with their friend Owen (Zane Holtz), the brothers begin peddling weed and ecstasy. But when a deal goes wrong, the trio is forced to recoup the lost money or face serious consequences at the hands of a drug kingpin. With no other choices in sight, they decide to rob their local bank, and as is generally the case with untrained criminals, things don’t go quite as planned.
As more and more characters enter into the situation, the film flashes back to the events that led to everyone becoming involved in the heist. While the bank robbery lasts only seven minutes (hence the title), the flashback sequences comprise a majority of the film’s running time. A bumbling police officer, a scumbag thief, and a shady businessman all end up inside the bank during the heist, resulting in Sam, Mike, and Owen losing complete control of the situation.
You’ve seen 7 Minutes before. It follows the same blueprint as a number of similar crime thrillers, but does so well enough to constitute a viewing for fans of such genre films. Stylistically, the film is like a strange mixture of Bad Turn Worse (another Starz release) and the opening and closing sequences of Pulp Fiction. Martin utilizes a delightfully southern, small town vibe throughout the film, and the idea that everybody knows everybody comes into play on more than one occasion.
Performances are solid across the board, with Leven Rambin stealing the show every time she appears onscreen. Mitchell, Ritter, and Holtz play off each other very well as the “looks, brains, and muscle,” respectively. Joel Murray and the legendary Kris Kristofferson appear in minor roles, though they are both relatively underused. As an ensemble, though, the characters genuinely feel like members of a small community with some serious issues.
The only glaring issue with 7 Minutes is the considerable amount of fluff in the flashback sequences. In the midst of a high-action scene, nothing grinds down on an audience’s attention span like cutting to a low-energy, dialogue heavy flashback. Martin’s reasoning for this is admirable. He clearly wants viewers to connect with the characters as much as possible, but the pacing just isn’t quite there because of the inconvenient timing of the flashbacks. The time jumps only answer questions no one would bother asking, making their presence feel irrelevant.
It definitely doesn’t reinvent the wheel when it comes to heist thrillers, but 7 Minutes is a fun romp for film fans who just can’t get enough of watching bumbling criminals struggle to successfully commit a crime. Experienced filmgoers will be able to predict this one from a mile away, and sure, quite a few movies with a similar plot have come along in recent memory, but 7 Minutes manages to be enjoyable despite its issues. If you think you’ll have a good time with this one, you’re probably going to have a good time.