Shut-Eye | Chicago Reader

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You have to admire someone with the chutzpah to write a Robert De Niro role and cast himself in it, and to his credit John Covert gives a fine performance in this indie crime drama (2001), playing a Chicago cop estranged from the force who makes ends meet by working security for a Mafia-owned strip club. Among the staff are two couples planning to rip off some cash-filled strongboxes from the hapless manager, a scheme that backfires with a body count somewhere in the double digits. Covert, a local maverick who's written and directed four features since 1996 (most notably Waiting for the Man), has assembled a strong cast, especially Jennifer Kern as the cop's wife, James Aidan McCaffrey as the beleaguered husband plotting the heist, and John Harriman as his hair-trigger accomplice. Unfortunately the story spins out of control in the last 20 minutes, with a series of double, triple, and quadruple crosses that left me mystified even after a second viewing. 90 min.

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