Written, directed by and starring Kris Salvi, Joe Maxwell, a small time criminal, has the worst night of his life after his girlfriend leaves him. Also starring: Marc Powers, Gabrielle Rosson, Justin Thibault, Michael Lepore, Sarah Morse and Deborah Del Negro.
There are the typical things that can happen on your average bad day, spilling coffee on your favourite shirt, getting wound up by an unappreciative boss or simply forgetting something, but bad days ring different for criminals. Joe (Marc Powers) is your typical man in a rut, he’s so used to his routine and doesn’t have the energy or desire to change it up, causing his girlfriend to leave him. Thereby setting off a sequence of events where things go from bad to worse, although unfortunately it doesn’t happen in as gradual of a manner as you’d hope. Realistically there are only two main catalysts and one of them is the ending, so the space in between isn’t filled with as much intensity or an increasing suspense as would be satisfying. That choice leaves it feeling fairly meandering, and hard to get a grip on what it’s going for.
When you’re dealing with criminal characters, it can usually go one of two ways, someone with a less than ethical job but is a decent person, or someone’s who is just outright bad, but Joe lands somewhere in the middle. He’s not inherently sympathetic, he has a low-key charm but not a huge personality and being such a man of habits, there isn’t much more to learn about him. Ultimately, he doesn’t give you a great deal to invest in or to hold your attention. Similar could be said of the visual style, it works but it’s playing things too safe. The colour palette feels fairly bland, not quite gripping onto the gritty or seedy side of the story. There’s also a few choices in music which feel like they’re working against the story rather than with it. Everything isn’t quite working together to embrace a more sinister or dark atmosphere to bring out the themes of this story.
Marc Powers’ performance does carry the film well, he has the classic macho energy, self-assured but not overly arrogant. He’s not perfectly likable but he’s also not dislikeable, he has an edge of relatability, outside of his criminal dealings, he’s your average guy. There just isn’t a particularly grabbing quality to him, he leads the film easily but misses out on having a memorable quality. The other key character, played by writer, director Kris Salvi is much different, extremely overt and in your face. The way that the story progresses, he’s thrown rather forcefully in the mix and with such a strange persona, it’s a difficult transition to make. It’s hard to pin down what exactly his eccentricities are intending, other than to clearly be irritating to Joe. Especially as the story then quickly arrives at its finale and the ending feels slightly abrupt or unfinished.
10:59 PM attempts to tell us the tale of a bad day but feels as though it ends just as the real story is beginning. There’s a decent concept at its foundation but it moves rather slowly and misses the opportunity to build a tangible suspense or tension. Visually it works but plays it safe and doesn’t build on the darker themes of its story, remaining a more everyday aesthetic. The way that the different aspects are put together don’t find a cohesive balance, ultimately never making clear what it’s true intentions are.