Heist pictures don’t come much dumber than “7 Minutes,” an indie thriller about three desperate young guys who attempt their first armed robbery.
That stupidity, evident in both the under-planned caper and its resolution, could have been an asset to writer-director Jay Martin’s movie. But like his characters, he appears to have missed the gaping holes in his plot. And at every pivotal moment in the movie, Martin errs on the side of dull.
You’ve got to be an idiot to plan to make a living, post high school, by selling Ecstasy to the local college kids. But it takes a special degree of dumb to take an expensive pile of pills from a proven killer drug dealer, and then flush them down the toilet at the first loss of nerve. That’s how former high school quarterback Sam (Luke Mitchell of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”) gets in over his head.
Robbing a relative, or basically anybody in a town where everybody knows your name and face is clueless.
Dragging brother Mike (Jason Ritter of “Gravity Falls”), a new father and serial womanizer, into it wasn’t smart. Ex-con Owen (Zane Holtz of TV’s “From Dusk Till Dawn”) is no help, either.
The film is framed within the seven minutes of the actual heist — a mortgage office in rural Washington state. Flashbacks tell us how these three came to be in this fix.
Sam’s lost his machine shop job. And his pregnant waitress ex-cheerleader fiance, Kate (Leven Rambin) is burdening him with her optimism.
“Everything’s gonna turn around,” she says. “We just need to get on our feet, get out of this town.”
She’s totally in the dark about the heist, as are the lumpy classmate-turned-lonely cop (Brandon Hardesty) and Sam’s hardcase “Pop” (Kris Kristofferson). But Pop’s thuggish pal (Kevin Gage) senses something’s up.
The cast is game and committed. But Martin, making his directing debut well into a career as a movie storyboard artist, struggles to give all of these characters history and motivation as he ham-fistedly weaves them into the film. They’re never more than stock types, and having no flair for dialogue and a weak grasp of action editing, he fumbles the promising small town milieu and “family” he sets up with a climax built on action beats that bear ever-diminishing returns.
Best thing about it? The plainly-restored classic cars Sam and Kate drive. Put that vintage AMC Javelin and vintage Jeep Cherokee on eBay and you’re “out of this town” in under seven minutes.
MPAA Rating: unrated, with graphic violence, sex
Cast: Luke Mitchell, Leven Rambin, Jason Ritter, Kris Kristofferson, Joel Murray
Credits: Written and directed by Jay Martin. A Starz release. release.
Running time: 1:29