I have seen a lot of comments about how writer-director Greg Marcks's film "11:14" is in the tradition of "Pulp Fiction," but that is true only to the extent that you are talking about a film that plays with chronology. True, Quentin Tarantino made it possible to tell a story in a non-linear mode, but that is not what Marck does in this one. What he does is more akin to Akira Kurosawa's "Rashomon," where we get the same story from various perspectives. Even here the analogy is not completely on point either, because in "Rashomon" each character tells a decidedly different version, only the last of which is privileged as what really happened. In "11:14" each pass through the story covers essentially the same time (each story starts progressively earlier in the evening), but for the most part in a different place. The "most" part of that last sentence is key, because the characters and stories interconnect and as we learn something new we rethink what has gone out before.
We begin with Jack Levine (Henry Thomas), who is driving along one night in the town of Middleton, talking on a cell phone, a bottle of booze on the front seat, when he gets disconnected from his call, the clock in his car hits 11:14 and a body hits his windshield. The situation, to put it mildly, is not good, and they manage to get progressively worse for Jack (could YOU recite the alphabet backwards under pressure?). I do not want to get into the details, because that would spoil the fun. Suffice it to say this is only the first piece in this black comedy. It is important you know that this is a black comedy because cars hitting people, or people hitting cars, are not usually topics of humor. Besides, there are arguably worse things that happen to people in this movie (depending on your point of view, which very well may be gender specific).
The rest of the cast, in alphabetical order, are Rachel Leigh Cook as Cheri, Ben Foster as Eddie, Colin Hanks as Mark, Clark Gregg as Officer Hannagan (who is having a very full night), Shawn Hatosy as Duffy, Blake Heron as Aaron, Barbara Hershey as Norma, Stark Sands as Tim, Hilary Swank as Buzzy, and Patrick Swayze as Frank. I have no doubt that all of them were persuaded to go with Marck, whose only previous credit was the 19-minute long "Lector" (about a man who makes his living reading books to cigar rollers at a time when the new technology of the radio is threatening his job, on the basis of this script. That is because this script adds a new layer of meaning to the story each time around as we come full circle and finally understand what really happened. I agree with the fine ensemble cast that signed on for this one, that Marck pulls it off, and that what we end up with is not so much a cosmic joke as what might actually be cosmic justice. The only question now is what does Marck do for an encore? Because you can only play this type of game once.