Shimmer Lake

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Photo by D. Tempesta

Finding Shimmer Lake was quite the pleasant surprise, or happy accident, if you will. I stumbled across it while perusing the Netflix and promptly remembered an esteemed acquaintance recently praised it. With no other movie prospects, I decided to give it a gander. I am glad that I did. But what makes Shimmer Lake worth watching? Let’s make a list:

Order

Shimmer Lake is told in reverse. For those of you as literal as I or who had a grandparent that would read the words backwards in a book, it is not literally told in reverse. It is just told from the start of the last day to the end of the first. The story ends on a Friday evening. We come in on that Friday morning and watch the events of Friday. We then go back to Thursday once Friday has concluded and continue going through each subsequent day until we reach the beginning. The decision to tell the story in reverse is the greatest reason I think this movie is good. As said acquaintance mentioned, if told in chronological order, that story is boring. I noticed the same and agree entirely. However, the decision to tell it in reverse creates the story in a way that allows it to be both unique and enticing enough to be interesting to watch.

Humor

This movie is filled with dark comedy that supplements the nontraditional storytelling. The humor was advertised, so it was expected. What impressed me was the diversity of the humor. Shimmer Lake never relied on any one type of comedy; it wasn’t even all dark humor. I laughed loudly when Zeke’s partner was repeatedly relegated to the backseat of the cruiser. The comedy reliant upon the character of Chris Morrow was definitely the most uncomfortable, but it was still effective. I couldn’t laugh at some bits, felt bad laughing at others, and relished in enjoying some parts. Even the subtle humor of the Wendy’s bag and the naked guy were appreciated.

Characters

Shimmer Lake does a good job of enticing you into the story using mystery. But this wouldn’t matter if we didn’t care about the characters. Don’t worry; they have us covered there. Rainn Wilson’s performances are typically good, so it was a clever move to not only start with him, but to let him carry a fair number of scenes in this movie. Benjamin Walker was also compelling. However, even without these good performances, the writing of the characters themselves was exceptional. The prettiest and quietest character was one of the most conniving, even going so far as to manipulate a mentally challenged man by using her body. The man who claimed to have been the only good person in town murdered or plotted the murder of practically the entire rest of the cast. And the only decent people in town, Zeke’s partner and Andy’s wife, had no idea what was going on. The diversity and complexity of the characters added another layer of the film to be enjoyed.

It would be simple enough to be able to figure out the “ending” of the movie while going through the days, but you spend so much time asking the wrong questions that you never bother to ask yourself the right ones. In this way, both the order and the way in which the story was told are essential in keeping Shimmer Lake interesting. It is definitely worth the hour and a half.

My name is Chuck, and these are my thoughts. Now I would like to know what you think. Did you like the way the story was told backwards? How did you feel about the humor? Do you think the ending justified the mystery? Leave a comment down below, and we’ll talk. Enjoy the day!

Next week: I have no idea.. I’m open to suggestions!


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