Solid Rock Trust blends the heist film format with the claustrophobic, person-on-a-phone tension of The Guilty. Maddie (Koko Marshall) is a one-woman crime-planning committee, working out of a warehouse full of computer screens to direct her team on a major bank robbery. She uses multiple phones, fake accents and deceptive plotting to move her human chess pieces into their proper places. They trust her, at first, because of the money promised. When things start to go awry, Maddie has to pull it all together from afar to make sure they still walk about with something … even if it’s just their lives.
Writer-director Rick Ives does an impressive job keeping the film visually kinetic despite most of the running time featuring Maddie staring at various screens. Kudos to his sweeping camera movements and editing that helps create tension we’re otherwise only hearing through speakerphone. Marshall does an excellent job making Maddie feel like a character worth watching, too, and carries the whole piece on her shoulders. The use of multiple accents is simple, effective and delightful.
There are the requisite twists, turns and reversals throughout the film to keep it interesting. It slowly becomes clear why Maddie has arranged such an eclectic crew of partners, and it’s solidly engaging as motivations and loyalties shift. Most of the supporting characters only exist through vocal work, as we hear them talking to Maddie. There’s only one sequence in the film that does not quite work — involving two physical interlopers in Maddie’s space that cause her to step away from her computer — but it fulfills a valuable narrative function, so it’s hard to really complain.
As far as small-scale VOD work goes, Solid Rock Trust is a neat piece of filmmaking that uses its limitations to its advantage to tell a pretty cool story. A strong lead performance and clever filmmaking hold it all together.