Greg Marcks directorial debut 11:14 is a tricky little puzzle of a film. Amazingly enough, the pieces do all fit together, despite Marcks’ (who also wrote the screenplay) bewildering youth. What significance (if any) 11:14 has over other times on the clock, I don’t know. In fact, why the five stories play out as they do, I wasn’t sure until the final segment, which neatly ties all parts together. While it may not be the type of film that’s as much fun to watch the second time around, you’ll have a ball the first.
Of course, as Rachel Leigh Cook’s wannabe love slave (sorry wife), I have to say the last segment is my favorite. In addition to this portion’s role as crazy glue for the rest of the film, we get to see Ms. Cook’s Cheri at her devilish best, and it’s superb at just how naughty she can be. The joyride segment is also a winner, thanks in part to the three hot-rodders’ just comeuppance, even though I did get a kick out of their antics. They’re definitely the types of kids you’d wish a deadly one-car accident on during a traffic-laden Saturday night, but in the confines of this film, these characters are much more amusing than any real-life counterpart could ever be.
Should you feel the film meandering out of control, stick with it. It’s all worthwhile in the end. Still, how does one pitch a film like this to potential investors, or a studio for that matter? It’s definitely a guerrilla effort, but a slick-looking one with a wicked sense of humor and a trace of heart. The fact this low-budget effort from an unproven first-time director drew the attention of Cook, Hilary Swank, Patrick Swayze, and Barbara Hershey, speaks volumes for its willingness to depart from cookie-cutter Hollywood formulas. As for Marcks, this film landmarks the start of a career where the best is surely yet to come.
The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation plays with intimate clarity. The film takes place entirely at night… often outdoors, with only the grit of a street lamp to light the way. Very rarely does the lighting rise above traditional ambient you’d find in a quaint pizzeria, or perhaps at the theater before they pull the curtain, and shut down the overheads. However, though the film lacks the need for colors and contrast, it still comes through with a clean image. Neither murkiness nor mud… just a clear picture for a dark film.
The disc contains three tracks, which include the following: Dolby Digital 2.0, Dolby Digital 5.1, and DTS 5.1. All are sufficient in their duties, but the 2.0 lacks the muscle of the two 5.1 tracks. I prefer the DD 5.1 (probably more out of habit than anything else) kept at a reasonable volume over the DTS, which I will admit holds up better the louder things get. I simply don’t need that much power. Both handle background noise incredibly well, and deal a damaging bass to the deaf fogie in all of us.
The bonus material provided, while not delving quite into the kinds of depth a film lover would like, does offer adequate justification for the reasonable asking price. There’s a Greg Marcks audio commentary, which unfortunately is the audio equivalent to watching Robert Altman’s Short Cuts. Also, the disc contains the 10-15 minute 46 Minutes to Midnight: The Making of 11:14, two storyboard-to-film comparisons, trailers, DVD-ROM content, and a Character Jump feature, which allows, at certain points in the film, the viewer to jump ship to another character at that exact moment in time. Other than being a glorified scene selection, this feature does allow the viewer to shoot their own film, in a manner of speaking. Honestly, as neat-o as it may sound, it loses its luster quickly. And as with most deleted scenes, the ones included here were deleted for a reason.
11:14 is a strong film. While it may not be what I would consider an innovator or a pioneer (after all Pulp Fiction beat it and a boatload of other films to the punch on disjointed structure), it is entertaining. In the realm of puzzle films, it’s a worthy addition to the upper tier. Certainly worth a one-time excursion, and possibly a few more visits. With a striking A/V presentation, a twisty-turny script, fine actors, and a respectable accompaniment of extras, 11:14 is a time worth getting up for.