There is a very sad and moving moment at the start of ROBBERY that sets the tone of this film involving a robbery. As the father in the driver’s seat of a car asks the passenger beside him: “Who are you?” The reply is: “I am your son, dad.” Everyone has or will go through the time when a parent goes through dementia. This is a sad and real problem which ROBBERY bravely examines in this indie-Canadian feature.
When his criminal father, Frank (veteran actor Art Hindle who has been in countless TV series and films including classics like PORKY’S and BLACK CHRISTMAS) is diagnosed with dementia, a young thief, Robbie (Jeremy Ferdman) plans a series of reckless heists in order to battle the disease and pay for his medication.
The film shifts between a crime film and family drama with some comedy thrown in for good measure. The film unfolds in Chapters – 3 of them in total. The first is entitled ‘Robin Hood’, the second “An Awful Disease” since the dementia is one though the awful disease being referred to is Robbie’s gambling addiction.
The script, written by Stanton himself contains some solid moving lines. It also contains the concept of a 5-minute memory span that works well into a suspenseful plot though in reality (there) is no such thing. Frank can only remember 5-minutes at a time, so when he is on a job, it must take no longer than 5 minutes. (In truth, if one can remember 5 minutes at a time, these 5 minutes can be linked to another 5 minutes, meaning that the 5 minutes can last a much longer time span.)
Once can tell Stanton is having a field day writing the Roxanne (Jennifer Dale) scene, the one that ends with Robbie’s fingers smashed. Dale laps up the lines in the film’s best scene, to be taken tongue-in-cheek, obviously. The story takes a violent twist after.
The film is not without humour, or at least not without Stanton’s warped sense of it. After a character’s speech on setting one goal after another so that in essence that becomes living effectively the rest of ones life, Robbie decides his next step in life is to kidnap a dog with the help of his dementia-ridden father.
Superlative performances are elicited by Stanton particularly from Hingle, Dale and relative newcomer Ferdman in the title role. Ferdman who is a real “hottie’ has been in a few TV series and in a very minor role in the Jessie Owens movie RACE.
ROBBERY tries to be too smart for its own good leading to an over-stylish but confusing ending.
Because of its quirkiness, ROBBERY is perhaps an ideal film to be selected at the After Dark Film Festival where it premiered in October last year. ROBBERY is clearly an above-average Canadian indie with a twisted sensibility making it worth a look.