| April 23, 2013

Ok, so we have a diner filled with people and a cop who walks in for the customary pastry and cup of java. But this isn’t an ordinary diner, and the cop isn’t an ordinary cop. The cop is Oscar winnerForest Whitaker, and he thinks he knows all that is going on, but he really doesn’t. And this misunderstanding costs him his life.

The new movie Pawn due out on DVD by Anchor Bay on April 23 is a movie that will have you guessing right from the beginning, even though the thriller sets up Whitaker to be killed only moments into the movie.

The diner is really a front for the mob, and some thugs have been sent to rob the owner, but to also take a disc drive that contains very important information about connections, deals and other secret things that no one wants to be revealed to outsiders.

Whitaker reunites with Michael Chiklis, with whom he played in The Shield. We also see Common and Ray Liota, who just scares me in any role that he plays and who goes by The Man in the Suit, Nikki Reed, Sean Faris and Stephen Lang, among others.

This is a shotgun blast of a thriller about last chances, double-crosses and a deadly game of dirty deals where anyone can be a pawn. No one seems to be exempt from being double-crossed—from the young, married man named Nick, who just got out of jail; his young, innocent wife; the mobster who runs the diner and the investigators who are working to get the hostages out of the diner.

Chiklis is ruthless as the lead thug, who was instructed to go into the diner alone and at a certain time. But he gets slick and goes against these orders, which causes him problems, once the robbery and ensuing tense hostage situation gets under way. Pawn uses flashbacks to bring folks up to speed and to also show different scenes, which weren’t shown but provide much insight into current situations. He thinks one of the cops on the outside is on his side, and that cop hasn’t a clue that Nick’s wife has been taken by Liota, a situation that wasn’t necessary, as Liota had his information misconstrued. To add to the madness and deceit, Common is on to something, as he is wary of the S.W.A.T. leader’s actions. As soon as Common issues a command to the cops who have assembled, they are overruled by the S.W.A.T. leader.

I liked Pawn, as it reminded me of A Simple Plan, Fargo and Leaves of Grass, movies which started off with something that seems a sure thing but gets screwed up somewhere along the way.

In a movie where everyone has to look over their shoulder before making the next move, the ending still held many more surprises and suspense.

Produced by Michael Becker of Imprint Entertainment, Michael Chiklis of Extravaganza Entertainment, Brad Luff of Storyville Productions and Jeff Most of Most Films and featuring the directorial debut of renowned cinematographer David A. Armstrong, Pawn is available on Blu-ray/DVD combo and on DVD only. The bonus feature on the Blu-ray/DVD combo includes a behind-the-scenes featurette. Visit

About the Author:

Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J., is an editor, writer and film critic in Chicago. She is the author of "Old School Adventures from Englewood--South Side of Chicago" and the proud parent of "the smart rapper"--chemist-turned-rapper, turned humanitarian...Psalm One!
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