Pawn (R)

Suspense/Thriller 88 April 19, 2013
By Chuck Wilson
Crooked cops and ruthless crooks abound in this well-acted, surprise-filled yet unsatisfying hostage thriller. When a beat cop (Forest Whitaker) walks into a Connecticut diner for his nightly cup of coffee, he discovers an armed robbery in progress. Violence erupts but then, director David A. Armstrong and screenwriter Jay Anthony White stop the action to flash back to what came before, a process that marks the first of many time jumps, none of which, impressively, become confusing. The three robbers are led by a Cockney thug (Michael Chiklis) who's after more than just watches and wallets. The diner, any fool can tell in a glance, is a mob front, and the office safe contains a list of dirty cops, most of whom now have guns pointed at the restaurant. Pawn features Common and Ray Liotta, but the movie belongs to Sean Faris, who does fine work as an ex-con being set up to take the fall for the robbery and the many murders it initiates. Pawn is efficient and diverting, but the finale fizzles out like a wet fuse, which may be the inherent peril of a screenplay jammed with plot twists-- one always expects just one more.
David A. Armstrong Nikki Reed, Ray Liotta, Forest Whitaker, Marton Csokas, Jessica Szohr, Sean Faris, Stephen Lang, Jonathan Bennett, Michael Chiklis Jay Anthony White Anchor Bay Films

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