96 Minutes

96 Minutes

A scene from 96 MINUTES, a film by Aimee Lagos. Picture courtesy ARC Entertainment. All rights reserved.

96 Minutes (2011/2012)

Opened: 04/27/2012 Limited

Limited04/27/2012
New York, NY04/27/2012 - 05/03/20127 days
Burbank, CA04/27/2012 - 05/03/20127 days
Atlanta, GA04/27/2012 - 05/03/20127 days
St. Louis, MO04/27/2012 - 05/03/20127 days
DVD05/29/2012

Trailer: Click for trailer

Websites: Home, Twitter, Facebook

Genre: Urban Thriller

Rated: R for violent content and pervasive language.

96 MINUTES is the harrowing story of four kids caught in the terrifying maelstrom of a carjacking. Intercutting between the car and the beginning of that day, we follow the separate stories of each kid -- where they come from, who they are, and how they all ended up in one car on this fateful night. Their worlds are starkly divided along class lines, but their lives slam headlong into each other, becoming forever entwined, as they each struggle to survive the desperate reality they now share.

Synopsis

96 MINUTES is a harrowing story of a carjacking and abduction and the four young people caught in the terrifying maelstrom of that night. The events unfold in real time as we intercut between the car and the beginning of that day, following the four separate stories of each of the kids -- where they come from, who they are, and how they all ended up in this one car on this fateful night.

As we ride in the chaos of the car, moving through darkened suburban streets and into a poverty stricken world filled with a palpable volatility, our hearts race with theirs, our guts thump with the pounding beat of their music, and we watch as they do the most shocking, horrifying and awe inspiring things imaginable. As we get to know each of the kids we find ourselves wrapped up in not only the drama of that night, but the very real trials and tribulations of each of their lives as they come of age and confront the questions of how they want to live and who they want to be.

CARLEY is a 21 year old smart, spunky, light up the room college student with an almost obsessive drive to please her parents and an unparalleled will to survive. DRE is a bright, charismatic 17 year old high school student living in a gang infested neighborhood, striving to succeed against all odds and grappling with the questions of who he is, where he's come from and where he hopes to go. LENA is a beautiful young college senior struggling to find her voice and autonomy in the world amidst all the pain and drama of the transition from adolescence into adulthood, and KEVIN, a 15 year old street kid abused and forgotten, struggling for a sense of power and belonging in a world that has seemingly forgotten him and rendered him completely powerless. There are no adults in their lives to speak of, just one man, DUANE, the owner of a local gas station who becomes a central thread of hope that weaves their stories together.

The story is told in a non--linear fashion, beginning with the moment just after the car jacking begins. Lena has already been shot (and is desperately clinging to life), Dre is trying to find his way out of this terrifying situation his little cousin Kevin has gotten him into, Kevin is bouncing off the walls with no sense of the gravity of what is happening, and Carley is doing all she can to help Lena and convince these two boys in the front seat to do the right thing. We cut back and forth between the car and the beginning of that day, following each of their separate stories, until we reach the final moments when we discover not only how it all ends, but we see for the first time, how it actually all began.

The world of this film is one that is starkly divided along class lines -- a world filled with violence, fear, isolation, and pain -- a world flooded with mixed messages that leave these kids caught in the crosshairs of the choices they will make that will ultimately determine the rest of their lives.

On this one night, those worlds slam headlong into each other, forcing us to recognize our coexistence and find in ourselves the humanity these kids are all searching for. Through their fight and the tragedy that unfolds, we come to see that this is a story about choice -- the choices we have, the choices we give, and ultimately the choices we all make.

Awards

  • Jury Award, Breakthrough Performance (Evan Ross) - Sxsw 2011
  • Best Film - Boston Film Festival 2011
  • Best Director - Boston Film Festival 2011
  • Best Actress (Brittany Snow) - Boston Film Festival 2011
  • Honorable Mention For Editing - Woodstock Intl Film Festival 2011
  • Audience Award Best Feature Film - New Hampshire Film Fest 2011
  • Emerging Filmmaker Award (Aimee Lagos) - St. Louis Intl Film Fest 2011

Reviews

"96 Minutes maintains a brisk pace and generates a satisfying degree of suspense with its credibly contrived tale of disparate lives forever changed by a violent carjacking. Pic also boasts strong performances by well-cast up-and-comers... Working from her own script, first-time feature helmer Aimee Lagos displays a talent for brisk character definition and a sharp eye for class and racial divides. Better still, she has a deft way of keeping things coherent while juggling subplots and timeframes." -- Joe Leydon, Variety

"Lagos first effort is a fully gripping night world, a moment-to-moment film noir" -- The Austin Chronicle

"The acting in 96 MINUTES is superb.... Evan Ross is truly gifted in his portrayal of Dre. I was enthralled with his performance." -- Sarah Ksiazek, LostInReviews.com

"I really enjoyed the film and the director, Aimee Lagos, talked about how the film was based on some real events. We see the cause and effect bad decisions can have on one's life, and the importance for compassion and the fight to forgive when an atrocity has been committed.... Lead actress Brittany Snow is excellent too and a perfect soundtrack -- score by Kurt Farqhuar." -- Gemma Dempsey, Producer of KCRW's The Treatment

"A tour de force film that keeps you on the edge of your seat from start to finish." -- Scott Menzel, MoviemanMenzel.com

"A story full of heart and dramatic tension worth experiencing." -- TheMoviePool.com

"I recommend 96 Minutes as an intriguing character study, with very strong leads in Brittany Snow (Harrys Law) and Evan Ross (90210), as well as a strong feature film debut for Aimee Lagos." -- Slackerwood.com

"All of the elements to make the vision happen are there and firing; the acting is solid to standout across the board; the non-linear structure is used well; and the writing is done well." -- FilmSchoolRejects.com

"...this kind of great storytelling is one of the ways we can, slowly, begin to understand and heal." -- Rebecca Davis, Unbearable Goodness

"...[96 MINUTES] challenges audience members to confront their own ideas about storytelling on screen... What will surely be seen as one of the most provocative independent films of the last few years." -- Larry Richman, Pronetworks.org

Director's Statement

You tell the stories you know. Or at least the ones you know you must tell. This film is a tapestry of stories that have touched my life -- people I've known, places I've been, truths that have rocked me and moved me to want to expose them in a new light. Everyone has a passion project -- one that they work for years to get made -- 96 MINUTES was mine.

I went to a university that, although it was located in a major city, was very sheltered -- tall stone walls surrounding perfectly manicured quads -- an idyllic hilltop campus. While I spent most of my time in this cloistered world, I also spent a lot of time in some of the most impoverished neighborhoods in the inner city doing after-school writing programs for kids and interning with the city's neighborhood stabilization project aimed at community empowerment. I loved the work I did and the kids I worked with, but the harsh reality of their day-to-day lives was stunning and utterly heartbreaking. Eleven and twelve year old children, whose smiles would light up your soul, were under immense pressure everyday to join gangs, traded stories of whose cousin got shot in which drive-by that week, laughed at me when I'd talk about the hope that someday they'd go to college. They laughed because they were all sure that by the time they turned 18 they'd either be in jail or they'd be dead -- that was just the way it was.

Those worlds I spent time in seemed starkly divided, until suddenly that all changed. A string of violent attacks rocked our campus community -- armed assaults, carjackings, rapes, murder. The often very young kids that were committing these crimes were from the neighborhoods I worked in -- they easily could have been the kids I loved so much. It was a strange thing to think of that. The things that were happening to my friends and classmates were horrific and seemed like pure evil, but I knew the story was much deeper than that.

The kids I worked with were hammered everyday with messages that told them that they were thugs, gangbangers -- nothing more. This was who they were, who they were expected to be. Good kids, doing nothing wrong, just walking home would get accosted by cops -- treated like criminals -- all because of how they dressed, where they lived or the color of their skin. When the world treats you like you're a no good criminal even when you're not, and you've got no one giving you any sense of hope, it's often just easier to become that criminal. We ask kids to make the right choices, but in order for that to happen, we have to actually give them a choice.

Writing the script I wrote about the things I'd seen, people I knew, stories they told me. I fell in love with each of the characters navigating their worlds and their struggles to survive their own pain. In directing the film, it was very important to me to tell this story from a place of non-judgment and impartiality -- to expose the truths of these characters and the worlds they lived in. Authenticity was paramount. That perspective was one my cinematographer, Michael Fimognari, and I talked a great deal about in our planning of the shoot, choosing the multiple formats and shot-listing each scene. Stylistically, we wanted the camera to observe the characters, to be taken into their worlds by following them (often literally) into a scene. There was no traditional coverage as such in any of the scenes. The camera followed the action, panning between characters to maintain the kinetic sense of life unfolding in the moment right before our eyes.

This film was a long time in the making and in the end was truly a magical coming together of an incredible and passionate group of people who all believed this was an important story to tell. For me, this is a film about four young people struggling to become. It's a story about choices: the choices we face, the choices we make and ultimately the choices we give. In it's own way, it's a story for and about all of us.

-- Aimee Lagos, Director and Writer, 96 Minutes

 

Trailer