The Escape of Prisoner 614
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The Escape of Prisoner 614

From the surf-guitar opening credits to the rambling guy-banter and comedy-of-no-manners repartee, this feature-film debut from New York state writer-director Zach Golden falls into the sons-of-Tarantino school of moviemaking. That can be good (Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead, Go) or not-so-good (American Strays, 2 Days in the Valley). This falls into the not-so-good 3 from Hell category.

Sometime in the 1960s—confusingly not stated but surmised through old-fashioned landlines, smoking in restaurants, a VW bus, a reference to 1958 and a plate of diner meatloaf costing $2.85—sheriff’s deputies Jim Doyle (Martin Starr) and Thurman Hayford (Jake McDorman) haven’t seen any crime in the tiny, real-life Catskills town of Shandaken, NY for years. A dreaded visit Operation Finale from hardcase Sheriff Wilson (Ron Perlman), who dresses in undertaker black and enters rooms by kicking in the door, results in their being fired for lack of arrests. Their necessary presence as deterrent and as emergency aid goes unmentioned—as do many other points of logic, signaling a sloppiness that continues to the movie’s very end.

Turning in their guns and badges and given till end of day to clear out, the two amiable lunkheads—who seem anachronistically longhaired for deputies in 1960s crewcut-land—grasp at a straw when a nearby prison warden (Ralph Cashen) phones about an escaped prisoner. This gives Thurman, the ostensible brains of the outfit, the notion to capture the escapee, become heroes and get their jobs back. Jim reluctantly goes along. Becoming more and more out of their depth as they climb further and further up a mountain trail in pursuit of their quarry, the two engage in such one-dimensional idiocy as having a beer-can-shooting competition despite having limited ammunition and the fact that all that noise could alert their prey. But said prey (George Sample III) isn’t much smarter, starting a campfire in the woods. A confrontation and Downsizing capture, and much subsequent bantering, ensue.

Duration: 97 min

Release:

IMDb: 4.5

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The Escape of Prisoner 614
The Escape of Prisoner 614
The Escape of Prisoner 614
The Escape of Prisoner 614
The Escape of Prisoner 614
The Escape of Prisoner 614
The Escape of Prisoner 614
The Escape of Prisoner 614
The Escape of Prisoner 614
The Escape of Prisoner 614
The Escape of Prisoner 614
The Escape of Prisoner 614