David A. Armstrong’s film Pawn had me intrigued from the get go. Pawn is Armstrong’s directorial debut after years of working as a cinematographer on many films, mainly horror, including many of the Saw series. The cast had me interested and the story had me dreaming of ensemble twisty tales such as Jennifer Lynch’s Surveillance or James Mangold’s Identity. But did Pawn deliver?
It starts out like a joke. A cop (Forest Whitaker) walks into a diner. But little does he know that a robbery is in progress. Led by criminal Derrick (Michael Chiklis), the robbers seem to be after something very specific in a safe in the back office of the diner. With the diner surrounded by police, the story of what happens during the robbery and what happened with the events leading up to the robbery are of grave importance and make for some very shocking twists.
Or so we are to believe. Don’t get me wrong, Pawn is well filmed and well crafted. The cast are all excellent in their respective parts. And if Pawn had been released 15 years ago, I might have been shocked by the turns of events. But the movie going audience have seen a lot of scenarios and Pawn just didn’t have twists that intrigued enough. I found at the end of the movie that actually said to myself “Oh, that was what was going on?” I felt let down. But even so, Pawn is a solid little thriller that will occupy that gap in your Sunday afternoon just fine. Perhaps I was just expecting too much, but I felt underwhelmed by the time the credits rolled.
The Blu-ray from Anchor Bay is very nice though. You can really tell the director has spent time with a cinematographer’s hat on, the shots are confident and flow naturally and the film is very nice looking. The Blu-ray transfer is very nice as well with solid colors, nice black levels and a good amount of detail. This isn’t one to blow your mind, but it is understated in its quality levels. So don’t count Pawn out, but don’t expect all the trailer promises either. Go in prepared and have a good time with it.
Available April 23, 2013 on Blu-ray and DVD.