Reviews:10 Cent Pistol

We got an early sneak peek at a pretty awesome crime drama. Check this one out.

"Gingers cannot be killed because they
no souls."
Twisty heist movies have become a bit of a mainstay in indie cinema pretty much since the moment the mainstream started paying attention.  While Pulp Fiction is widely considered to be the most influential film of this period, it is Tarantino's debut film Reservoir Dogs and 1995's superb The Usual Suspects that are the blueprint for this ever-fertile genre.  Indeed, this can result in an "it's been done" type of cynicism toward these films that we've been seeing for the last 20 years to mixed results.  So naturally it's easy to bring that weariness to 10 Cent Pistol.

10 Cent Pistol doesn’t really bring anything new formula-wise to the table.  It is in all brutal honesty a film you’ve probably seen before.  But like many of the great films in this genre, it's not about the formula so much as the execution.  Is 10 Cent Pistol a "great" film?  Certainly not on a level with the films listed above.  But in a crowded field of crime films, it's one that has enough good elements to make it stand out.

This film's ace in the hole is a talented cast.  Real life brothers JT and Damon Alexander play brothers Jake and Easton, bringing an honesty to their roles that elevates it above the mook stereotype such characters often fall into.  Joe Mantegna and American Pie's Thomas Ian Nicholas do well in their small but pivotal roles.  But it's Jena Malone (Donnie Darko) that really brings the film together, making something remarkable out of what could have easily been a stereotypical "criminal's girlfriend".  Though the territory may be familiar, the payoff is what you come to see, and 10 Cent Pistol doesn’t disappoint.

There's a reason films like 10 Cent Pistol continue to be made, despite how many others like it came before.  A well-made and well-acted film can still entertain us and keep us guessing.  10 Cent Pistol stands above many of its peers in this aspect.  Much credit goes to writer-director Michael C. Martin (making his directorial debut) for breathing welcome new life into a familiar indie staple.  It's not a first ballot hall-of-famer, but 10 Cent Pistol is an ambitious and satisfying film that that truly stands out in its genre.

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-Mike Stec