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Heist Film Out of Exile Debuts Today: Review

 

Think of the “heist” movies you’ve seen – Ocean’s 11 (and its sequels), Tower Heist…. the general plot is on the funny side, and focuses on how it was done. Not so with new, bleak Out of Exile, debuting today in theaters and video on demand. Out of Exile could have been shot in black and white, and wouldn’t be any grimmer.

Parolee Gabe Russell (Adam Hampton) is back at it again, but a botched armored car robbery puts the FBI on his trail. Gabe’s basic nature, you come to believe, is someone who would prefer to take care of those around him – his estranged daughter, abused by her boyfriend; his brother, recently returned from deployment overseas; his co-workers in an auto repair shop. But he doesn’t see any other way to get where he wants to go – a quiet, lakeside home in Montana – except by taking on risky robberies. Where Ocean’s was all glitz and Las Vegas showgirls, Out of Exile is back alleys, strip clubs, and losers living in motels.

Adam Hampton as Gabe Russell

But this film, the first feature film from director Kyle Kauwika Harris, pulls you in with a fairly quick pace, and characters that you wish could find a way out of this life on the wrong side (except for the robbery crew’s boss, played by Peter Greene, whose skin is barely pulled tight enough to cover his skull). An earnest FBI agent and his sharp partner (Ryan Merriman and co-producer Karrie Cox) fairly quickly track down the perpetrators, but not without their own issues with duplicitous co-workers.

Peter Greene as Whitman Rader

The spare background music was designed, I think, to keep you on edge. The film was shot with a fairly monotone color palate, reflecting the hopeless nature of the life these characters lead. Shot in Oklahoma, it could be in any city’s seamy neighborhoods.

Writer and director Harris said, “With Out of Exile I wanted to write a crime thriller that focused on family dynamics, or the lack thereof. That was something I felt was authentic to my own upbringing. it. I knew that I needed to take control my own destiny, and making the film myself was the right path to take. From a style/tone/ filmmaking approach, Out of Exile takes so much from Heat, Triple Nine, The Town, Out of the Furnace, Point Break, etc.”

He added, “The film was shot over the course of 20 days in Oklahoma. There were 37 locations in the film shot over three counties and that presented many issues with moving and striking sets but I knew it would give the film a more lived-in and authentic quality for viewers but also for the actors within the scenes. (Several actors) went through extensive weapons and tactics training two months in advance to filming. Matt Moulton, our armorer and Executive Producer and also co-founder in SafeHouse Films, helped train the actors to get them into a space where they could react instinctually so that when it came for camera roll, they’d be ready. Being ex-special forces, Matt used his knowledge in communications strategy and weapons tactics to ensure the actors would be ready. The characters in the movie rob an armored car and have to do it in 30 seconds flat. And by the end of the training these actors could perform that seamlessly.”

Out of Exile is available on VUDU, Redbox, DirecTV, and Amazon Prime Video, and in some theaters. Check your local listings.

 

 

 

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