Electric Slide Movie Review
Based lightly on the true life story of 1980’s bank robber, Eddie Dodson, ELECTRIC SLIDE is more about mood than story in this uneven psychedelic trip through L.A.’s counterculture history.
Jim Sturgess (21, CLOUD ATLAS) is Eddie Dodson, a furniture salesman with eccentric style. Poor decision-making has made him and his business in financial debt to both the bank and a wickedly dangerous mob boss. In order to start repaying this debt, Eddie buys a starter gun and begins to robbing banks. But Eddie doesn’t have any real master plan other than dressing with a debonair flash, covering his license plate, and complimenting the female tellers as he quietly holds them up at gunpoint. Know as the notorious “Gentleman Bank Robber,” Eddie’s unorthodox talent for flirtation, helped him rob over 60 banks.
Thrown in the mix of this stylish heist film is a wooden love story with a young woman named Pauline played by Isabel Lucas (IMMORTALS, THE WATER DIVNER). Unfortunately, she doesn’t do much of anything other than latch on to Eddie and his wily ways. Their love story seems quite empty other than Pauline looking beautiful as an old pinup model for the period. Director Tristan Patterson must have some strong friendships as she was able to obtain veteran stars like, Patricia Arquette (BOYHOOD), Chloe Sevigny (BOYS DON’T CRY), and Christopher Lambert (HIGHLANDER) in thankless supporting roles that overwhelmingly underutilized their talents.
ELECTRIC SLIDE appears to have the early budding of an interesting idea. The flamboyant womanizer Eddie Dodson, played perfectly by Jim Sturgess, is a character worth investing in. Wearing a colorful three piece suite with flashy hat and a flower lapel, Eddie walks up to the prettiest female teller. “Give it to me,” is the only line he utters as he points the starter pistol in her direction. As she rapidly throws the money into the bag, he pays a genuine compliment about what she’s wearing or physical appearance. It’s enough to keep the teller’s gaze long enough for a getaway in his black 63′ Ford Galaxy LTD, while playing his specifically made mixed tapes for just such an occasions.
The problem with ELECTRIC SLIDE, might be that it doesn’t commit to it’s unique dreamy style of filmmaking. With a cleaner NATURAL BORN KILLERS vibe, the film never quite fleshes out the technique. The musical choices by bands like, The Savages, Iggy Pop, Magazine, and Depeche Mode to name a few, coupled with the colorful costuming and art direction gives the film a much needed pop but never goes far enough to provide substance. The choice to make a getaway mix tape is one that should have been expanded upon that would have fit nicely into this unconventional world. The framing and camera choices were also interesting but ultimately felt empty without reason. Almost every turn within ELECTRIC SLIDE a decent opportunity was being squandered.
While the film may miss the mark in providing its alternative style of a BONNIE AND CLYE type love crime, I believe ELECTRIC SLIDE does have talent hidden within. Sturgess particularly stands out, providing a very unusual character from his mannerisms to his voice and might alone be a reason worth seeing the film.