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It isn't until you find yourself re-counting the plot of "11:59" to
someone, that the significance of director Jamin Winan's ambitious
feature film debut begins to dawn on you. The subject matter is heady
and involved, touching on a myriad of issues, from the role the media
plays in our lives to the importance of following ones instincts.
Ultimately however, Winan's aspirations are grander than his
achievements in "11:59," yet we do get a glimpse of the potential to
come from this film school dropout.
As with all Double Edge Film productions (Winan's and producing partner
Joe Sekiya's Denver based film company) "11:59" is concerned with
perception and purpose and the themes the duo have explored in their
preceding short films, re-emerge here in broader more refined strokes.
The picture opens with a burst of nervous energy as a breaking news
story unfolds. The camera hand held, the edits quick, the music lively.
Winans is eager to draw us in but doesn't quite achieve sure footing
until after the initial 15 minutes when the action settles down. The
films strongest visual styles recall moments from two other indie
darlings - "Trainspotting" and "Requiem for a Dream", of which the
latter is the most blatant. Director of Photography Jeff Pointer frames
the sequences well and Winans, not only writer and director, does
triple duty as editor, saving the films mediocre performances with
smart cuts that keep the pacing steady and engaging.
Raymond Andrew Bailey gives a committed performance in the role of
Aaron Doherty, the Jimmy Stewart of the piece, who experiences a flash
forward revelation which allows him to ultimately touch ground and
reconnect with something more significant than his career ambitions
have. Bailey is likable and very watchable in the role, however he
brings nothing particularly unique to his character, other than
communicating mild frustration in relation to the existential mire in
which he finds himself entwined. The juiciest role of the enterprise
falls in the hands of Liz Cunningham, an alum of Double Edge, who
previously was lensed by Winans and company in the short film "The
Maze". Here Cunningham gets to play an edgy high profile news producer
who seems hell bent on her station becoming "Colorado's News Leader"
but in fact has some dirty laundry. It is Cunningham who gets the best
dialogue,although at times she comes across as caricature. In every
scene she appears, she plays the same level of intensity. A more
nuanced performance would have made a world of difference. Laura Fuller
as Lisa Winders, reporter and sidekick to cameraman Aaron, comes across
as mousy at times but does have effective moments. As with director
Winans, these actors seem poised for future success.
The films imagery does linger in the mind. Perhaps the most standout
imagery and finest moment comes near films end. Aaron is pushing
himself to the limit in a race against the clock so as to alter a
foreshadowed outcome. The scene serves as a fitting metaphor to this
indie accomplishment,nearly five years in the making, which like our
hero in "11:59" is sure to propel Jamin Winans into a fuller
realization of an already purposeful career.
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