30 Minutes or Less: Based on a True Story?

Word of mouth has been spreading concerning the new film 30 Minutes or Less released last week. Problem is, it’s not positive and not really even about the movie. It’s about the real-life incident back in 2003 in Eerie, PA involving a pizza delivery man, robbing a bank, with a irremovable bomb strapped to him. Aside from the location, that’s the premise of 30 Minutes to the letter.

At 2:30, August 28 (eight years ago this month) Brian Wells waked into the PNC bank, passed a note to a teller demanding $250,000 and showed her a iron box with a hand cuff like hinged collar secure around his neck. He left the bank with considerably less than what he came for and was apprehended in a parking lot not fifteen minutes later. Police handcuffed him but retreated behind squad cars when Wells announced the bomb would detonate. “I’m not lying”, he told them asked if they had called his employer to let it be noted he wasn’t slacking off his duties. After a twenty five minute stand off-before the bomb squad arrived-the device began to beep repeatedly and detonated. Wells was killed in the blast.

According to Wired, in a four year investigation a heist caper’s worth of discoveries were made. The last delivery made by Wells before returning to town with the bomb was to a handyman’s home who later called the police telling them he was contemplating suicide. Bill Rothstein told police that he was ready to end it all after hiding the corpse of his ex-girlfriend’s boyfriend in his freezer. The ex, Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong is believed by the FBI to have mastermind the robbery despite a history of mental illness making her an unlikely candidate. Then there was speculation that Wells may have been in on the whole operation but was vetoed out and sent to die with what was originally going to be a fake bomb. Notes in Wells truck suggested a twisted scavenger hunt of clues to remove the bomb (which was professionally made including false wires and unlocking mechanisms) for Wells to use as a scapegoat in the event he was captured. There was also a gun disguised as a cane used in the robbery.

Now the director and producers or 30 Minutes deny any knowledge of the heist gone wrong. According to Moviefone, when the Wells family spoke out against the film director Ruben Fleischer said: “They’re not really related in any way, so I think a lot of people are prejudging it without information.” The official studio statement was less aggressive stating, “The writers were vaguely familiar with what had occurred and wrote an original screenplay so it does not mirror the real-life tragedy.”

While the story doesn’t seem to have hurt the films rep as disastrously as expected their hasn’t been much light at the end of the tunnel anyways. 30 Minutes opened last weekend to fifth place just behind The Smurfs, taking in only $13,000,000.

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