If Corey Stanton’s debut film Robbery were a novel it would be one hell of a page turner. A tightly woven crime thriller that keeps you guessing to the very end, the film announces Stanton as an exciting new voice in film.
After falling into major debt with a ruthless casino owner, Roxanne (Jennifer Dale), recovering addict and part-time thief Richie (Jeremy Ferdman) enlists the help of his father Frank (Art Hindle) to pull of a series of heists to gather the money he owes. Despite Frank’s in-depth knowledge of the criminal world, being a thief himself back in the day, his dementia diagnosis threatens to throw a wrinkle in their plans.
Considering that Frank’s dementia gives them a five-minute window of clarity to puff their thefts, it would have been easy for Stanton to make the diagnosis a vessel for cheap laughs. While there are some great darkly comedic moments in the film, Frank’s mental illness never feels like a gimmick. Instead it adds a rich layer to the intricate web of deceit in the film. This especially true when observing how Richie attempts to tries to keep both his father’s health and his gambling debts a secret a mechanic and his budding relationship with Winona (Sera-Lys McArthur).
Filled with sensational performances from the ensemble cast, Canadian icons Hindle and Dale are exquisite in their respective roles, the film crackles with wit and tension. Stanton also does a good job of infusing strong women into a genre that often keeps them on the sidelines. It is refreshing to see characters like Roxanne and Winona (Sera-Lys McArthur), a bartender who strikes up a friendship with Richie, unapologetically play by their own rules.
While it is tempting to do a deep dive into the wonderful twist and turns the film has to offer, it is best if one goes in knowing as little as possible. Weaving together an intricate character-driven crime tale, Robbery is a must-see.
Monday, October 15, 9:30 PM, Scotiabank Theatre