The most revealing fact about this crime thriller is that its director, Jay Martin, is a storyboard artist. This helps to explain why so many of its scenes and shots are so clean, so professional, and so precise, and also why the plot has several holes, which, though often big, are surprisingly never fatal. 7 Minutes holds your attention to the very end.
It’s also the kind of film that’s perfect for a young or student filmmaker because its failures are as instructive as its successes. Its failures are almost all found in the casual links of its Tarantinoesque narrative structure (many are just improbable) and in the art direction, which fails to establish the period in which the film is set (1970s? ’80s? ’90s? Today?).
Its successes are the score (post-grunge), several of its performances (particularly that of the sad-sack cop and the badass villain), and its mastery of its location, Everett. 7 Minutes is the movie that gets that city right. The ugliness of its downtown, the blandness of its raised freeways, and the abruptness of its transitions from rural to urban and urban to rural. The only thing pretty about this city is the light that falls on it—but, to be fair, that light also falls in the same wonderful way on the whole of the Pacific Northwest. Everett makes Tacoma look like Venice.