When an employee of PNR Industries Inc. steals data from his company to sell to a competitor, it sets off a series of moves that seem, at first glance, to be anything other than corporate.
The result is taking cost management, risk assessment, downside risk management and corporate responsibility into deep, dark waters.
Loss Prevention opens with Nicole ‘Nik’ Duncan (Abisha Uhl, Girl/Girl Scene) in job interview at PNR – and being rejected, politely, before storming off in a huff.
Meanwhile, Cooper (James Tackett, Family Tree), a PNR programmer, hacks the company’s mainframe for some highly secret data and is directed to the nearest bar for a meet with his customer – the same bar where Nikki works as a bartender for her father, Murphy (Al Snow, TNA Impact! Wrestling, Lake Eerie), The Soggy Weasel.
Thus, Nik is at work – with waitress LeighAnne (Katie Stewart, Girl/Girl Scene, and second bartender Landon (Wilson Conkwright, Ring River) – when Cooper arrives, pays a trio of frat boys to leave their table to him, and settles in to wait; with an order of a martini every five minutes.
Another two arrivals, Brooke (Lauren Albert, The Convergence: Mission) and Christian Boland (John Wells, The Dark), set the stage for a swirling series of events that take business and corporate espionage to a unique level.
The first half hour of Loss Prevention sets the stage – we meet the principal characters; get to see a typical night at the bar (bachelorette party; the aging regular who might have an unexpected past; the bartender who takes a break to have sex with the bride-to-be; alleged banter between the staff, and such like).
Complications arise when Cooper gets roofied by ‘corporate liaison’ Brooke (who happens to be Nik’s dream girl come to life) and Nik, thinking he’s drunk takes his keys, planning to call him a cab. Then Boland arrives and things get increasingly nasty.
Loss Prevention is a very low budget hoot.
The world-building – the tying in of assassins and corporate espionage; the concept that killing someone might not be cost effective if they can be bought for a reasonable amount (and signing an NDA); and that, in the context of this world, even the simplest seeming product can lead to all kinds of mayhem.
Nik who replies to someone’s exclamation, ‘You’re a lesbian!’ with ‘And I thought I’d hidden it so well.’ She also has the bad habit of not listening and speaking (usually sarcastically) when she should be listening.
Boland is a genial assassin who cheerfully uses business as an excuse to get his jollies by killing people – though he does so only when it’s cost effective (it’s not said in the movie, but I get the sense that he thinks he has a personal code – but his actions don’t entirely bear that out).
Brooke likes to think of herself as the good guy – which may not quite be as delusional as Boland’s belief in his personal code. She looks like the quintessential manic pixie dream girl, but is definitely not manic – rather, she is considered and thoughtful (as well as being a badass).
Co-written (with Nic Brown and Matt Niehoff) and co-directed (with Niehoff) by Brian Cunningham (Girl/Girl Scene), Loss Prevention is an entertaining hour-and-a-half that looks better than its budget thanks to Cunningham’s minimalist cinematography.
He uses mostly medium to close shots except for beauty shots to establish location.
There’s also a certain amount of satire and sly wit to be found here as well (think company orientation videos just for a start).
The action choreography is vivid (and messy) and the Boland/Brooke confrontation is a lot of fun – genial psycho versus non-manic pixie dream girl badass (with unhelpful attempts to help from Nik).
Even the introduction of RNP’s CEO, Reginald Bachman (Vernon Wells, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde), is handled with a certain low-key panache.
Then, as if to say, ‘action? Pish tosh!’ the film concludes with a cutthroat business meeting where lives literally hang in the balance! Or does it?
Loss Prevention is smart, witty, and features enough action and suspense to qualify as a thriller and enough humor to make the drama deeper.
In the olden days, Loss Prevention would be a B-movie, but a better than average one.
It’s definitely worth the rental – and if a DVD/Blu-ray is released, I want a commentary track on it – it seems like it must have been good time making it.
Final Grade: B+
Loss Prevention is now available on SVOD.