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Fall Time Review

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Three young men have grown up together in a small American town. When two stage a mock kidnapping of the third as a prank, they accidentally kidnapp a bank robber instead - and all three men find themselves in trouble.

★★★★★

Paul Warner's muddled first film jaunts back to the apple pie days of the 50s to tell a tale of lost innocence.

A trio of high school buddies contrive one last farewell to their smalltown world by pulling off an elaborate prank. Dressed in identikit gangster togs David and Joe (David Arquette and Jonah Blechman) plan to roll into their sleepy Minnesota town, gun-down their pal Tim (London) using blanks, bundle him into the boot and drive off to their cabin hideout leaving a bemused town behind. But instead, they hit and kidnap Leon (Baldwin), an identically dressed hood about to knock off the bank under the watchful eye of his partner Florence (Rourke).

Leon, dumb, nervy and sadistic, turns the tables and takes David and Joe hostage at the cabin. Unsure whether he's been double-crossed by Florence in league with the boys, he decides to torture them to find out. Meanwhile, the equally sadistic but infinitely more intelligent Florence is working Tim over in town to find out what he knows. Florence agrees that as long as Tim takes Leon's place in the heist, he may consider letting the boys live.

With the tension simmering towards the final meltdown, Warner inexcusably flips the fast forward button and the film blurs into an incomprehensible mess during which it's almost impossible to figure out what's going on, let alone why. The last half is so badly out of synch with the pace and fine drama of the first that even the efforts of the sterling cast can't save this unlikely yet well scripted study of the anomalies of the 50s.

The film boasts a good script and cast, but once the plot is lost, the film loses all credibility. In more experienced hands it could have been a different story.

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