Living and Dying (2007)
--Review by Nic Brown--
happens when small time bank robbers get cornered in a diner by the
police? Well if it is the film Living and Dying by
Keeyes, it won’t be what you expect. Within minutes of entering
the restaurant they, along with everyone else inside, are taken
hostage by two psycho killers there having lunch. Now the robbers,
Sam (Edward Furlong) and Nadia (Bai Ling), must figure out a way to
keep themselves and the other hostages alive while caught between
the police and the killers.
Jon Keeyes and Michael Madsen on the set of Living
This is a complicated situation for the detective in charge, Rick
Devlin (Arnold Vosloo), that becomes even more desperate when agent
Lind (Michael Madsen) from the ATF shows up to take over the scene.
Lind’s agenda doesn’t seem to be the hostages safety. He’s more
concerned about getting the stolen money back for local tycoon
Nicholai Duca (Tamer Karadagli). With all this going on, both inside
with the hostages and outside with the police, the line between the
good guys and the bad guys is blurred and the question becomes: will
anyone get out alive?
Living and Dying is an exciting movie. There is plenty of
gunplay to keep the action junkies happy, but the multilayered plot
is what really makes the film entertaining. Keeyes does a fantastic
job of building suspense as it becomes apparent that very few
characters are really what they seem. It is the story’s complexity
that allows Living and Dying to be driven more by characters than
action. This is a rare quality for what at first appears to be a
typical cops and robbers shoot ‘em up.
Keeyes assembled a first rate cast for the film. Vosloo and Furlong
are both engaging as the “cop” and “robber” for the story. Fans of
Jon Keeyes’ other works will also notice many familiar faces in the
cast. Trent Haaga stands out as the more perverted of the two
killers and young actress Hayden Tweedie gives a great performance
as one of the hostages.
There is definitely more to Living and Dying than first
meets the eye. If you have the chance to check out this film, you
won’t regret it. However, you will have to pay attention, because
Jon Keeyes isn’t slowing the bus down to let slow students catch up
for this film.