Jack (Henry Thomas) is driving around the outskirts of Middleton just after eleven o'clock at night, chatting on his phone and protesting that he's not drunk. The person on the other end of the line tails off, and Jack hangs up, when suddenly something smashes into his windscreen and rolls off his car. Jack slams on the brakes, staring at a sign that warns drivers about deer on the road, and he realises that must be what he has hit, or at least he does until he gets out and sees the human body lying by his back wheels. When a car draws up alongside him, Jack frantically drags the body out of sight, and bluffs his way through a conversation with the woman, Norma (Barbara Hershey), who is under the impression he has hit an animal. Yet he can't dissaude her from calling the police...
Written and directed by Greg Marcks, this was his first feature after his short debut, and was immediately compared to Quentin Tarantino. Now, being compared to Tarantino is rarely a good thing, as very few could pull off that filmmaker's skill with homage and smart dialogue without the word "rip-off" hoving into view, but this was no flip thriller festooned with pop culture references, and once it's over emerges as very much its own film in its own tricksy manner. Another film it was compared to was Crash, but thankfully, there's none of the self-righteousness and pretention of that here, just a collection of episodes neatly slotted into each other to create a satisfying whole.
For there are five tales told here, one after the other but running simultaneously so we only find out what the connection is gradually, and essentially really understand how they all fit by the end. Just about every character save for Norma and the policeman, Officer Hannagan (Clark Gregg), acts suspiciously, some for more innocent reasons than others, as it turns out. Once we have dispensed with Jack's story, which sees him just about to be arrested for murder, we launch straight into an episode with three young men looking for a good time by chucking objects such as doughnuts at cars and pedestrians. One of them (Ben Foster) makes the mistake of pissing out of the window, a bad move when you're about to be involved in a car crash, resulting in the loss of body part that is very dear to him.
There are signs that this is supposed to be a comedy, or have humorous overtones at any rate, but not much provokes laughter. Where 11:14's strength lies is in its withholding of vital information to keep you guessing about where all this is heading and the significance of the title for the characters. Other stories include Patrick Swayze walking the dog and finding a body, convenience store worker Hilary Swank (also an executive producer on this) contriving to help friend Shawn Hatosy steal money from the establishment, and a trashy Rachael Leigh Cook as the film's femme fatale who gets in over her head. Naturally coincidence plays a strong part of this, but that's par for the course and doesn't distract from the fun, although some of it strains credibility at points (would an object falling from that height really kill someone?). It all has the structure and air of a collection of intriguing urban legends, and is well worth seeing - just make sure you don't know too much about it before watching. Music by Clint Mansell.
[The only extra on Lions Gate's Region 2 DVD is a trailer, which gives away a lot, so don't play it before seeing the main feature.]