Shimmer Lake is a highly conventional film told in an unconventional way; the film’s approach of the “heist gone wrong” genre has a lot of familiar beats, but the film’s method of backwards storytelling is clever, and elevates the already solid ensemble of characters. Tracking the story of a local cop (Benjamin Walker) in his pursuit of two bank robbers (Wyatt Russel and Rainn Wilson), the film owes a lot to Memento and The Usual Suspects, but crafts a tight, well edited thriller. Outside of some distracting comedic beats, it’s a serviceable, occasionally gripping heist thriller.
Wilson and Russel are veteran character actors who add some valuable gravitas to the film, but it’s Benjamin Walker’s detective that proves to be the film’s standout; Walker is perfectly cast as a law enforcement officer gripped in turmoil, and plays the character brilliantly in the film’s gripping, and shocking, climax. Shimmer Lake is by no means a future classic, but it’s certainly an entertaining, if somewhat predictable experiment in nonlinear storytelling. Grade: B-