Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction; that was certainly the case in the life of Eddie Dodson, an infamous Los Angeles thief who robbed over 60 banks in the early 1980s. Eddie Dodson was a furniture salesman with a taste for the high life. He often hosted celebrity-studded parties at his store and soon developed a drug addiction that fueled furious spending sprees. Over time, Eddie borrowed money from loan sharks and—fearful for his life when he could not repay them—started robbing banks.
Eddie became a media sensation for the outlandish behavior he displayed while he conducted his robberies. He dressed to impress and often flirted with the young female tellers as he pointed a gun at them (it was later discovered that the gun was a “starting pistol” that didn’t actually shoot bullets). Eddie Dodson was eventually captured in 1984 and sentenced to 15 years in prison. He served 10 before being released on probation and then landed a job as a caretaker at the home of famed actor Jack Nicholson. Unfortunately, Eddie soon resumed his drug use. He started to rob banks again in 1999 and was imprisoned once more. Eddie Dodson died of Hepatitis C in 2003.
Despite his extremely outrageous lifestyle and actions, no major motion pictures have yet been made about Eddie’s life. Although his life story begs for a large scale crime drama in the vein of “Casino” or “Ocean’s 11,” a 2014 indie movie took on the task of presenting Eddie’s life through his own drug-addled eyes. The film, titled “Electric Slide,” is an art-house project that takes an avant garde approach to Eddie Dodson’s story. Although this film is neither a biography nor a traditional suspenseful crime-drama, it is still highly entertaining when viewed as what it is: a work of art intended to capture the essence of Eddie’s oddball existence.
According to the synopsis on the “Electric Slide” official press release:
1983 Los Angeles is full of beautiful girls, luxurious mansions, and glamorous parties. Eddie Dodson (Jim Sturgess), a hip and charismatic dealer of antique furniture for the rich and famous, is living the high life. When Eddie meets the cool and aloof Pauline (Isabelle Lucas), the attraction is instant and the two live out each other’s fast-paced fantasies until Eddie’s high-rolling life catches up with him and loan sharks start knocking on his door. To pay off his debts, Eddie and Pauline begin a spree of bank robberies across LA, charming tellers at over 60 banks to hand over the cash. Now the two are not only on the run from loan sharks but also have the police hot on their trail.
“Electric Slide” is a highly unusual film. Its “outside-the-box” approach to its real-life subject matter might not be everyone’s cup of tea but, when viewed from an artistic point of view, this is a highly entertaining and even suspenseful film. Additionally, the acting is phenomenal. Although this movie was not written to be an all-around character study, every single part is played with believability from cast members who were clearly dedicated to the roles they played.
That said, “Electric Slide” is more or less a one man show and Jim Sturgess shines as Eddie, an over-the-top character who he plays with strange sincerity. Eddie is a true conman, alternating between laid-back passivity and maniac desperation. Such a character is hard to describe and even harder to emulate but Jim Sturgess does so successfully and seemingly effortlessly. Isabel Lucas is likewise excellent in her role as Pauline, Eddie’s flakey yet devoted girlfriend. Suggestion of Pauline’s dependency on both drugs and Eddie is strongly hinted at, without actually being portrayed, and this lends her character a vulnerability which is both pathetic and earnest to the reality of many such relationships.
Overall, “Electric Slide” is a very different but thoroughly amusing film that is memorable for its unique take on a man who lived a reality that seems much more like a fantasy. Due to its adult themes it is best suited for teens and adults, especially those who are interested in outside-the-box films. To find out more about “Electric Slide” see below: