No Loss//No Gain brings together a number of different genres. The combination heist/“let’s make a deal” thriller is about a bank robber who gives his victims the opportunity for millions if they go along with his plan. As expected, things do not go quite as planned and things become much more complicated than expected. But is that part of the plan?
Heist films always have a lot going on. There is the planning, the actual heist, and the inevitable twists and turns involved. It can be difficult to keep track of everything that is going on – but that is part of the fun. No Loss//No Gain continues in this tradition of borderline convoluted storytelling. The film takes it to the next level, though. New characters are introduced at a breakneck speed. This leads to questions of whether the script will be able to address everything it introduces.
There are larger problems than an over bloated script. Characters are poorly written. In these types of films, there is always one difficult captive. No Loss//No Gain presents a roomful. Just about every person gives pushback or a witty retort. Each person is a potential hero, wisecracker, and possible Benedict Arnold all rolled in one.
This seems like it would add more tension to the situation. Ironically, not only is this not the case, it actually takes away from the suspect. It is never a question of who is going to stop the robbery since it seems like no one can. With an interesting enough plot and No Loss//No Gain would be able to succeed. There is so much happening, it is clear there is going to be one huge payoff at the end. This is enough to make it engaging.
Engaging does not equal interest, however. Much like eating food just because it is in front of you, No Loss//No Gain is watchable just to see how it all works out. It is much of the same thing repeatedly. By the third act when elitism and moral debates enter, even that bit of intrigue begins to fade away. The long and confusing finale is appropriately complex.
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