A dandy last of the outlaw’s American movie. We can be fancy and call it “post Western” gangster. Where the Western left off Clarence Dillon and Al Capone took over. The outlaw spirit in America lives in the film “Whelm” set in 1930’s Indiana.
Many American gangster movies present you with an easy 1.2,3 linear plot. It becomes apparent in the first 15 minutes of the film “Whelm” is not one of those films. It’s bizarre beginning has one thinking this is a Tarantino look alike but that quickly dissipated leaving the viewer with a movie with its own mind and creative spirit. You’ll need to pay attention to the first 15 minutes carefully and I had to watch those 15 minutes twice.
In summation you are getting a raw and gritty movie full of nasty characters and somewhat innocents looking for revenge. The opening ice cube scene most likely will draw you in hook line and sinker.
And who you think are the bad guys may not be that.
Did the owner of Charly Creek Inn die from frostbite or something different? The clues left in the safe are both taunting and curious. Ostensibly nasty Alexander Alesky starts the film dragging an enormous ice cube and rifles the hotel’s safe and leads two brothers, one of which August has seen bloodbaths on the battlefields of France in World War 1 on his tail, as Alesky tells them where to find him. There is also a note for Jimmy a well-heeled gangster who like Alesky is wanted by the law.
Alesky isn’t as bad as one initially thinks he is.
And you’ll be surprised by who Jimmy is!
A bloodbath results in a heist of an Indianapolis bank. Good guys and bad guys who are more good than bad hit the dust.
Of course, the whole movie could be a fantasy and if it is it is enjoyable. You know a very smart student in my university days used to say comparisons are odious but before I make an odious comparison making them would be selling the film short. Sorry but I am thinking “Bonnie and Clyde” with Beatty and Dunaway and “Pulp Fiction” or “Reservoir Dogs”.
The film offers complexity that the aforementioned films don’t have. A brilliant effort and directorial debut of Skyler Lawson.
Whelm will be released on various digital platforms on August 13, 2021, and at various theatres in the USA assuming the 4th wave of COVID hasn’t closed down live screenings.
As for the acting it shines throughout. I have seen many an American Indie film and perhaps I can encourage you by saying this film should be a classic. Its roughness is genuine and not as a result of weak writing or cinematography. In closing it also reminds me of a 1982 Canadian film called the “The Grey Fox” about the last days of train robbing in Canada.
You can catch the trailer here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhHpqsqoXr8