A life’s work becomes a prison for Athens jazz club owner Stelios when a shady Romanian gangster calls in the debts he took to keep his dream of supporting the music afloat. As the hours tick by to the titular moment when the extraordinary sum is due, Stelios stumbles through a series of increasingly desperate episodes to disguise the reality of the situation from his disenchanted family, and gather enough money and favors to get the Romanian off his back. And still, in the meantime, get a fix.
Part Coen-esque descent of a mostly decent man into a seedy and bewildering underworld, part parable on the perils of accumulated debt from the frontline of the European financial crisis, Wednesday 04:45 is a gripping, multilayered gangster drama. Director Alexis Alexiou perfectly balances the complex emotions that drive a man—or, indeed, an entire culture—to take the most drastic measures available. Any exit is suitable when you are backed into a corner.