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Review: Flawed techno-thriller ‘The Crash’ is ripped prematurely from tomorrow’s headlines

‘The Crash’
Minnie Driver and Frank Grillo in the film “The Crash.”
(Vertical Entertainment)

The theme of cyber terrorism plays a timely role in “The Crash,” an intriguing if flawed techno-thriller that gets an effective boost from a high-caliber cast.

Set in late 2017, the film stars Frank Grillo as Guy Clifton, a smug, federally indicted stock trader whose talents for market manipulation come in handy when a threatened cyber attack could prove disastrous for the U.S.’s vulnerable economy.

But as Clifton and his crack team of white-collar criminals, including a wheelchair-bound John Leguizamo, are recruited by the government and race against the clock to avert potential global catastrophe, closer to home he and his wife, Shannon (Minnie Driver), are grappling with a less than optimistic prognosis for their cancer-afflicted 18-year-old daughter, Creason (AnnaSophia Robb).

While writer-director-editor Aram Rappaport draws effectively weighted performances (especially from the always committed Driver) and maintains a crisp pace, he’s less adept at balancing those big picture thriller elements with Clifton’s personal journey, which ultimately serves to rob both aspects of greater potency.

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More problematic, considering current events, the story line inadvertently serves as a cautionary tale for filmmakers, underscoring the inherent challenges of presupposing a ripped-from-the-headlines timeliness.

Given the number of scenes that anticipated a Hillary Clinton presidency, “The Crash” handily illustrates the perils of attempting to be “of the moment” in a political climate that has been known to change by the second.

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‘The Crash’

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Rating: R, for language throughout

Running time: 1 hour, 24 minutes

Playing: Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills; Laemmle Monica Film Center, Santa Monica

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