2:22 -- Film Review

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CANNES -- The best laid plans of slugs and thugs can go dead wrong, and they do in this brutal heist movie. Four career criminals decide to knock off a boutique hotel at exactly 2:22 a.m. on New Year's Eve. They figure everyone will be drunk or out of it. They figure right, but that's the crazy factor that explodes on them in this neo "Dog Day Afternoon."

Often mean-spirited, with sadistic dark flourishes, "2:22" registers 0:00 on the empathy scale. In short, the lead characters are neither sympathetic nor charismatic in the Al Pacino or even "Reservoir Dogs" style. We never root for these goons, and when they end up doing vicious battle with a drug-thug, it's good-riddance time all around. A slot on a macho cable channel might be this film's fate.

"2:22" is highly charged, and that's its strength. Filmmaker Phillip Guzman's noir styling detonates. Set against the frigid backdrop of a big city that looks like Toronto, the sordid milieu of the crime world is sharply scoped."2:22" gets its highest numbers from cinematographer Philip Roy's dead-of-winter lensings.

The charged-up script from writers Mick Rossi and Philip Guzman blasts along and is laced with some mordant flourishes but also is diminished by unlikely coincidences and sadistic humor.

What ultimately does this bang-gang movie in is that the lead character of Gully, played by co-screenwriter Mick Rossi, is an uninspiring nondescript. Although Gully sports the right mean-streets, lone-knight nature with its requisite wounds -- busted relationship, trouble with booze, lonely abode -- he never jells as an appealing bad guy.

Other players, however, stand out, most strikingly Aaron Gallagher as a vicious lout and Robert Miano as the gang's old-timer. Val Kilmer in a tiny role as a paranoid jeweler/fence steals the show with his loony apprehensions and hunched mannerisms.

Festival de Cannes -- Market

Sales: Moonstone Entertainment
Production company: Moonstone Entertainment

Cast: Mick Rossi, Robert Miano, Aaron Gallagher, Jorge A. Martinez, Peter Dobson, Bruce Kirby, Val Kilmer, Gabriel Byrne
Director: Phillip Guzman
Screenwriters: Mick Rossi, Phillip Guzman
Producer: Lenny Bitondo
Director of photography: Philip Roy
Music: Danny Saber
Editor: Philip Roy
No rating, 104 minutes
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