Movie Review: The Pay Day * A Supremely Well-Shot Entertaining Heist Film With Suspenseful Storyline
Set in a post-pandemic world, The Pay Day follows a broke and frustrated IT technician (Kyla Frye) who is charged by a crime boss (Simon Callow) to embark on a one-woman heist to steal valuable data worth millions on the black market. As if the dangerous pitfalls of her mission weren’t enough, the sting gets more complicated when a charming con artist (Sam Benjamin) interrupts her mission attempting to swipe the loot for himself.
KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Eshaan M. comments, “A supremely well-shot entertainer, The Pay Day is a perfectly pleasant film for those looking for a heist film, even though there are some stilted dialogues and scenes that drag.” Mikella G. adds, “A stand out in this movie is the suspenseful storyline. I could never anticipate what was going to happen next. Just as I thought I figured it out, something completely different happened. For example, Jennifer and Cameron’s (Sam Benjamin) relationship goes through many different levels, and just when I thought I understood where their relationship was going, it turns out completely different.” See their full review below.
The Pay Day By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16
A supremely well-shot entertainer, The Pay Day is a perfectly pleasant film for those looking for a heist film, even though there are some stilted dialogues and scenes that drag.
The film follows a frustrated and recently-fired IT technician (Kyla Frye) who is charged by a crime boss (Simon Callow) to embark on a one-woman heist to steal valuable data worth $500 million on the black market. Like all good heist films, it’s about people who feel neglected in society. Frye’s character is being evicted, and she feels that the whole world is against her. This opportunity to steal data is her chance to make it big. When a suave conman (Sam Benjamin) interrupts her mission to steal the loot for himself, matters grow even more complicated.
The cinematography in The Pay Day as well as the casting are two of the high points. Frye’s portrayal of a harried, desperate programmer looking for a way to make some cash is equally stirring and entertaining… though the film does focus on the latter more, due to the writing. This heist film sometimes wants to be a comedy and other times a romantic film, which makes it feel a little disjointed and somewhat like a series of sketches. For example, random flirting between Benjamin and Frye occupies 20 minutes of the film while Frye tries to extract files from a computer — whose, we don’t know yet. Speaking of random things, there are a bunch of odd elements in the film that seem either implausible or infantile to the point of being ridiculous, like a scene where a character survives a shot to the heart and another with a stilted and suggestive exchange about pomegranates. It’s largely the writing that makes the first half of the film drag, save for some scenes that really hit it out of the park. There are also tons of stereotypes thrown in, and some will make you cringe. For example a crime boss lounging with his cronies in a dimly lit bar; Pink Panther-esque background music; the typical green zeroes and ones speeding across the screen of a computer being hacked; and a scene where the protagonist sprints through sterile white walkways of every generic office complex.
The Pay Day promotes resourcefulness and resilience. There are some sexually suggestive scenes and discussions of smoking and alcohol.
I give The Pay Day 4 stars out of 5 and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. The Pay Day releases in theaters on November 14, 2022.
The Pay Day By Mikella Giustino, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16
The Pay Day is a mysterious, intense film that is filled with questions and surprises. It is unpredictable, and has a crazy turn of events.
The Pay Day follows the life of Jennifer (Kyla Frye), a struggling computer tech trying to get out of debt. She is approached by Gates (Simon Callow) who runs big undercover money-making operations and he offers her a deal that she cannot resist. However, on Jennifer’s mission she discovers that there’s quite a bit of information that she was blind too, and she must learn to adapt to these quick changes and obstacles that are thrown her way.
A stand out in this movie is the suspenseful storyline. I could never anticipate what was going to happen next. Just as I thought I figured it out, something completely different happened. For example, Jennifer and Cameron’s (Sam Benjamin) relationship goes through many different levels, and just when I thought I understood where their relationship was going, it turns out completely different. This is a great aspect of the film, because it keeps the audience interested and engaged. Furthermore, the pace of the film is great; It held my attention the entire time, and doesn’t feel too long or too short. At some points, the storyline gets confusing due to the structure of the film. There are a few flashback moments, and then it reverts back to preset time, but it’s not always clear that the switch is taking place so at times it feels like there is a lot going on. Lastly, each character is very strong; each has its own unique personality and the chemistry between all of them is evident.
The message of this film is that, when you listen to your heart, it will always lead you to do the right thing in the end. This film does have loud violent noises, including gunshots.
I give The Pay Day 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. You can watch The Pay Day in select theaters beginning November 14, 2022.