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Ocean’s 11 director Steven Soderbergh has gone on to make Logan Lucky, which shows that the rednecks can pull off a heist just as slick as any other. Now Keir O’Donnell is having his crack at the thrilling subgenre of cinema. You may know him from Wedding Crashers as Todd or season 2 of Fargo as Ben Schmidt, but in Marmalade, his new film which he wrote and directed, O’Donnell is nowhere to be seen. It’s a small-scale comedy-drama with some juicy twists and turns along the way, and given the brisk pace alone, he might have some behind-the-camera future too.

Marmalade stars a handful of recognizable faces and often feels like Bonnie & Clyde-lite but thereabouts embraces the goodhearted thrills more noticeably as it goes on.

Joe Keery is best known for starring in Stranger Things (whose final season is currently shooting) and for playing Jon Hamm’s evil sheriff persona’s hot-headed son in the latest season of Fargo with a big role. Now he has the lead role in Marmalade as Baron — a character whose hairdo alone could not be further lightyears away from Keery’s iconic flow from his Netflix hit series. We meet Baron when he first enters prison, where a southern drawl accent comes out once he starts talking to cellmate Otis (Aldis Hodge, maybe funniest performance ever). And curious Otis wants to know how this seemingly innocent airheaded dude ended up here scared shitless in this broke-down prison place called jail — so boom: Baron tells him…

It is also here we find out what exactly “Marmalade” means when it comes to being an alluring title for a flick like this. According to what Baron tells Otis — who even calls out how pretty she sounds before we learn her name — Marmalade is this girl’s name, the love of his life. And with her pink hair and radiant smile, it’s no wonder why Baron was hooked from jump street. Also, she a model in real life too? No wonder rising star Camila Morrone (Daisy Jones & The Six) has such a bright future in Hollywood — but for now, her mystique in this indie here sure as shit ain’t hurting the cause. Her Southern accent plays well off Baron’s, and it’s an absolute hoot to watch this free-spirited gal take this man on ride after ride through her wild ass life. It’s all fun and games while Marmalade finds ways to slip another dollar into her pocket here and there, but then she throws out the ultimate suggestion: “Let’s rob a bank.”

Baron has mouths to feed, including his sick momma back home, so he decides to go with it, as he explains to Otis inside their present-day prison cell. It’s sad-funny knowing Baron is super broke because he got fired from the post-office for his ridiculous hair (sad-funnier is Keery’s co-star Aldis Hodge — known mostly for dramatic roles like One Night in Miami…’s Jim Brown, Black Adam’s Hawkman, and Straight Outta Compton’s MC Ren). It’s a bummer Marmalade isn’t exactly a great movie all around because this could be Hodge’s moment, you know? But then again…

Just when you think maybe Keery or even Morrone will steal the show (because we’re watching Baron tell his story in true anti-hero fashion), it is Hodge as Otis who will make you laugh out loud. We get to know a lot more about Otis throughout the film — what he does for a living, the bosses and co-workers who are dumber than him — but really, we’re just trying to stay three steps ahead of him as Baron keeps dropping details about who this Marmalade person really is: Does she have her own traumatic childhood? Is she causing trauma now? What did she mean by “we,” and how did she know about Keery’s mom? Was her health actually getting worse — was Marmalade making her sick on purpose because she knew that would keep Baron focused on the outside?

Marmalade becomes a fun little game of context clues while inmate Otis tries to put it all together. Baron tells some fucked-up stories as part of his tale, and you’re thinking — duh, I know why that happened. But writer-director O’Donnell knows that’s what you’re thinking and keeps twisting things up (especially in the second half). It’s like every time you start to get comfortable with the story, it turns out Otis was five steps ahead of you and Baron was five steps ahead of Otis. It’s a great dynamic between the two, especially when Otis saves Baron in the prison cafeteria (and kinda-sorta wants to help him break out of jail — if only so he can stay home all day).

By the end, it’s such a pull-out-the-rug-from-under-you story that you might even be left pondering an iconic movie quote by long-lost Usual Suspects character Keyser Soze (the one that won Kevin Spacey his first Oscar) — but substitute in the right names: “Baron always said, ‘I don’t believe in God, but I’m afraid of him.’ Well, I believe in God… and the only thing that scares me… is Marmalade.”

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