Best Laid Plans
Time Out saysTropico is small town anywhere, USA, and Nick (Nivola) has a scummy job in a recycling plant. Meeting Lissa (Witherspoon) is just about the only highlight in his life just now, and he'd hoped that an inheritance from his late father would be their ticket to somewhere else. No chance. The taxman has swallowed the lot, leaving Nick all too susceptible when pals at work tell him of a robbery they're setting up. What sounds like no-risk turns into a nightmare with Nick left owing serious money to the heaviest dude in town. There are surprises for even the veteran twist-spotter, but the film is far from an exercise in empty narrative mechanics: friendship, loyalty, moral choices move events this way and that. Nivola gives a canny performance, while Witherspoon's sympathetic support and Brolin's seeming fall guy provide a persuasive foundation for all the slipperiness that follows. British director Barker keeps the cast believable but fabricates a noir-ish Edward Hopper backdrop around them, delivering a tantilising hyper-reality.