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DVD Review: 11:59

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Just a note to Jamin Winans. You are no Kurt Vonnegut, my friend.

11:59 is an overconfident, under-thought sci-fi conspiracy thriller that attempts to satirize the news media, while struggling to tell the story it should be telling. Intellectually deficient and emotionally pedestrian, this feature debut from Denver-based filmmaker Winans is a hearty exercise in provincial filmmaking — an exercise that somehow managed to get a DVD release.

The film follows TV news cameraman Aaron (Raymond Andrew Bailey), who has the biggest day of his career chasing down a suspected child murderer. Before the police show up, the suspect, Hastings (Chris Kelly), rambles something about a conspiracy. The conspiracy may involve an upcoming election for the governorship of Colorado.

Later that evening, while celebrating his big day, Aaron has a little time travel experience. He wakes up in a field a day later without having lived through the last 24 hours. But he learns throughout the day what supposedly happened while he was away. At the end of the day, he again blacks out and wakes up in a field. Now he gets to relive that day he missed with the knowledge he needs to prove Hastings's conspiracy theory.

Sure, 11:59 has a solid premise, but Winans's film has the Shyamalan problem — all pitch and no play. It never lives up to the description on the back of the DVD, a plot summary that is more fun to ponder on your own than to actually see in action.

I honestly wasn't sure if I was going to go that far with my criticism considering 11:59 is an independent film from a first time feature director. Then I saw Winans's short film Spin, loaded on the 11:59 DVD as an extra. Spin isn't a good movie, per say, but it is a better amateur effort than 11:59.

11:59 doesn't fine tune the work I saw in Spin. In fact, the feature lacks Spin's momentum. Any additional momentum may have kept an audience's attention long enough to get to the more eventful parts of 11:59. If you do remain interested, the last third of Winans's feature can be very watchable, but only if you ignore the ham-fisted characterization and bogus time travel narrative from the early parts of the film.

Special Features:

  • Commentary by Director and Cinematographer
  • Interviews with Director, Lead Actor, Producer and Director of Photography
  • Short Film Spin with Commentary
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About Daniel J. Stasiewski

  • Rick

    This review hit the nail on the head. By far one of the worst movies put together that I’ve seen in a long time. The plot went completely nowhere. Not once was I ever curious what was going to happen next. I was more concerned about how this movie ever got a distribution deal. Just proves that anybody can get a movie made.
    Not only was the script bad but the acting was just as worse. Raymond Andrew Bailey reminds me too much of that annoying “guy” you’re somehow connected to who you wish would go away. He only displayed two levels of emotion through the entire film: a stern/serious look and then the hilarious frustration emotion where all he does is scream “f*ck” and throw/kick something. Laura Fuller and Liz Cunningham are just as bad. In some cases the bad acting could be due to poor directing and script but I’m not sure that that is the case here. I believe that all three of those elements are the problem.

  • Aubry

    Ah, don’t be that harsh. I have to agree with the first review that the script was lacking something and it seemed to have carried over into the actors or maybe it is the other way around. Anyhow, it was okay. Only worth one view though.

  • Ebony

    jeez, that movie was intense! I felt more emotion for the mexican kid than the main character. it was sad and suspenseful. Id give it 3 stars

  • Jones

    Intense? Really? Don’t get out much I guess, Ebony? The script was lacking and the acting was horrible. I stopped caring 30 minutes into the movie. Ugh, terrible crap.