Deidra and Laney Rob a Train won’t change anyone’s life, but fun performances and a heartwarming story elevate it above average.
Director: Sydney Freeland
Summary: After their mother ends up in jail, two sisters turn to train robbery in order to support their family.
The idea of two teenagers banding together to rob trains to keep themselves afloat is hilarious on its own. It’s the type of thing someone who is wicked smart (but also overwhelmed) would come up with which is exactly what Deidra (Ashleigh Murray) and her younger sister Laney (Rachel Crow) are. They were barely getting by, but when their mom has a nervous breakdown and ends up in jail on a minor offense, Deidra is forced to take up the role as the parent for not only Laney but their younger brother as well. As the bills pile up and desperation to keep her siblings out of foster care intensifies, Deidra hatches a plan to rob trains and sell the merchandise.
This is a movie that is held together by the cast of characters, because if the audience doesn’t believe in these siblings then the entire movie is going to fall apart. The three main characters — but Deidra and Laney in particular — are fun and believable to watch. In one moment they are acting like you would expect two girls close in age to act, and the next they are planning another robbery like it’s nothing. As their deadbeat father (David Sullivan) enters the situation and things get more serious, we really feel for these girls. They are teenagers dealing with teenage problems on top of trying to keep their family together.
The main theme of the movie also comes through these characters, as it is very much a ‘nature vs nuture’ type of thing. The girls believe they aren’t destined for anything because their parents weren’t, but as the movie moves along they realize they are more than their DNA. They also realize that family is so much more important than they thought as they try to stay away from the investigator of the crimes. However, all of this being said, the movie doesn’t add much to the genre either. It’s a little predictable, but the interplay among all of the characters is good enough that you’re able to excuse it.
Deidra and Laney Rob a Train is a movie built for the age of streaming. While it has broad appeal, the audience that falls in love with it will be the ones who seek it out. As far as “family hijinks movies” go, this is a strong sophomore effort for director Sydney Freeland.
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