Sisters become a modern-day Butch and Sundance in "Deidra & Laney Rob a Train," a smart comedy propelled by two winning young actors.
Deidra (Ashleigh Murray) and her younger sister Laney (Rachel Crow) both have the same dream: To get out of the backwater Idaho town where they live, near the railroad tracks. Deidra's way is to be valedictorian and get a scholarship to college. Laney's is to sign up for the Miss Teen Idaho pageant something she only did to keep her pageant-obsessed friend Claire (Brooke Markham) company.
(Though the movie is set in Idaho, it was filmed in Utah primarily around Ogden and at the Heber Valley Railroad.)
Then their mother, Goldie (Danielle Nicolet) goes berserk in a home-electronics store and gets sent to jail. The girls have to figure out a way to earn money, keep the kitchen stocked and have some adult supervision around their little brother Jet (Lance Gray) so the child-welfare officer doesn't split the kids apart.
After watching a news report about cargo being stolen from a train, Deidra sees a solution. She devises a plan to hop on the train cars down the track, crack open a container box, throw a few loading boxes into their backyard, and sell the goods. Deidra pulls a reluctant Laney into the plan with her.
Director Sydney Freeland ("Drunktown's Finest," SFF '14) and first-time screenwriter Shelby Farrell find humor in the sisters' dilemma, and even more laughs in the behavior of the ostensible grown-ups around them. (The cast includes Tim Blake Nelson as an overzealous railroad cop and "Saturday Night Live's" Sasheer Zamata as the school's counselor.)
It's young Murray and Crow who give "Deidra & Laney Rob a Train" its spunk and its quicksilver emotional shifts, as the girls veer from criminal masterminds to argumentative siblings in no time flat.
– Sean P. Means
"Deidra & Laney Rob a Train" screens again at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival at the following times and venues:
• Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2:30 p.m., The MARC, Park City
• Thursday, Jan. 26, 1 p.m., Redstone Cinema 2, Park City
• Friday, Jan. 27, 11:59 p.m., Tower Theatre, Salt Lake City
• Saturday, Jan. 28, 2:30 p.m., Holiday Village Cinema 1, Park City