Filmmakers seem eager to work with Robert Nolan – I don’t blame them. Nolan is, undoubtably, one of the best character actors working in the industry. He’s respected because of his ability to morph into a role, and because of how professional he is. I’ve seen him play an embarrassing parent, an insane clown, a teacher on the brink of destruction, and I’ve even seen him pull disgusting “things” out of his body. He can do it all.
Sixty Minutes to Midnight plays like a dream project for director Neil Mackay as he joins the ranks of other genre directors who have thrown Nolan an interesting premise. Nolan plays Jack Darcy, a former soldier-turn-rough-around-the-edges construction worker who is axiously awaiting Y2K before the world enters the new millenium. The stakes are raised when a game show is imposed on him, following his every move as he fights off a flurry of armed assassins. If he survives an hour, he wins $1,000,000.
Unfortunately, Sixty Minutes to Midnight doesn’t do much more than give Nolan a standard survival story and automatic weapons. The audience will be yearning for a meatier story as they wonder if the guns have more dialogue than the actors. With Sixty Minutes to Midnight, Mackay is wanting to make Robert Nolan into an unyielding hero – think Charles Bronson or Chuck Norris. The film could very well be an homage to those action-packed, pulpy pleasures. But Sixty Minites to Midnight not only squanders Nolan’s range with a barebones role, it numbs the audience by offering an excess of shoot ’em ups that all look alike.
Sixty Minutes to Midnight screens at Toronto After Dark on Thursday, October 12 at 9:45 pm at Scotiabank Theatre.
For more information on the festival, visit the official Toronto After Dark website.
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