They say that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, but I guess that depends on what you’re imitating, doesn’t it? Nobody thought that a television unknown named Noah Hawley would be able to adapt Fargo for the small screen with any kind of quality, but three years in, Fargo remains one of the best shows on television. And considering how much the first trailer for Netflix’s Shimmer Lake looks like an early bump for Fargo, it’s safe to say that the streaming giant has been taking notes. We need a new adage for the imitation of imitation being a somewhat less sincere form of flattery, I guess.
That being said, judging by the film’s trailer, Shimmer Lake is going to make a lot of folks very happy. There’s nothing quite as much fun — in my book, anyways — as a movie about a group of small town idiots who stumble into a poorly conceived crime. From Fargo to A Simple Plan to countless others, the halls of movie Valhalla are lined with slow-burn indies with impressive casts and a few smart twists along the way. This certainly seems to fit the bill.
Oh, and there’s one more trick up Shimmer Lake’s sleeve! According to the film’s website, the movie is actually told entirely in reverse, backing up days and weeks to tell the crime story from the very end all the way to the very beginning. It’s not a conceit we’ve seen too many times in film — outside of Christopher Nolan’s much-beloved Memento, of course — but if this approach is used as an important storytelling mechanic and not just as a hook to get people to watch, it’s an approach that could be a lot of fun. Memento meets Fargo? The perfect logline for studio executives, and hopefully, the perfect thriller for Netflix audiences at home.
Here’s the brief plot synopsis for Shimmer Lake:
An inventive crime thriller told backwards — reversing day by day through a week — following a local sheriff’s quest to unlock the mystery of three small town criminals and a bank heist gone wrong.
Shimmer Lake’s impressive cast includes Benjamin Walker, Rainn Wilson, Wyatt Russell, Rob Corddry, and Ron Livingston. The film will be available for streaming on June 9.