It’s 1975 New England and Bobby Scheinman is an insurance salesman whose career is on the slide. With his position at his company in jeopardy and his wife yearning for a better life, Bobby is looking for a shortcut to the American dream. In a desperate attempt to support his family, he strikes a deal with two gangsters and quickly finds himself caught up in a dangerous con. Scared for his family, Bobby makes a desperate attempt to outwit the men, but things take a drastic and deadly turn for the worse.
Writer and Director Peter Himmelstein has used some fantastic retro 70s film effects, great costumes and a funky 70s soundtrack, and he has assembled a brilliant cast including AFI Award Winner Hugo Weaving (The Matrix), Jack Davenport (Kingsman: The Secret Service) and Judy Greer (Jurassic World) but somehow all this is not quite enough to make this an enjoyable film.
Weaving is the quintessential bad guy as Vincent the con man, giving his character depth and menace whilst Davenport makes good as Bobby the gullible salesman and Greer is completely adequate as the devoted seventies housewife. The three give fine performances that may have been more enjoyable in another film, whilst Brian Cox is a little less successful as Irving, the other half of Vincent’s con man duo. This may be mostly due to the script material that Cox had to work with.
The real problem with The Keyman lies in Himmelstein’s script and storytelling. The plot lacks the complexity, desperation, excitement and tension required for a thriller and the thin and somewhat predictable story lasts barely the seventy five minutes required to classify it as a full length feature film. One has to ask why this film, shot in 2007, was shelved for over four years and has since been so slowly released around the world.
Overall, The Keyman has some great elements including a few great performances and effects, but it fails to hit the target, particularly in the thriller genre it was aiming for.
Reviewed by Your Name
Rating out of 10: 6