A derivative debut from Oscar-nominated screenwriter Scott Frank (‘Out of Sight’, ‘The Interpreter’), this Midwestern neo-noir follows the ill-fated trajectory of popular high-school jock, Chris Pratt (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who, after a tragic car accident on prom night, suffers from a serious brain injury resulting in crippling memory lapses and poor impulse control. In a desperate attempt to sustain a regular life, he takes a janitor position mopping floors in a rural bank, but gets caught up in a premeditated heist with a shady bunch of thugs who he may have known before the accident.
Making good use of its snow-capped, ‘Fargo’-esque landscape and utilising the existential angst of ‘Memento’, the film generates an admirable sense of unease, but lacks the velocity and taut, provocative structure of those predecessors, resulting in a straightforward genre piece in which double-crosses and surprise twists lead to the inevitable. Still, Gordon-Levitt is superb as the cognitively challenged protagonist, as is the aptly cast Isla Fisher, in the role of Luvlee Lemons, a sickly sweet femme fatale. Jeff Daniels leaves no scenery unchewed but provides sardonic comic relief as Pratt’s blind, sex-starved roommate. Forgettable fun.