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SXSW Film Review: ‘The Archer’

13 March 2017 10:57 PM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Opening a film with a claim like “Inspired by true events,” though practically de rigueur by now, isn’t always wise — especially if what you then offer is melodramatic contrivance that can only be made to look sillier by the pretense of fact-based seriousness. Such is the case with “The Archer,” an Ok action thriller whose first half is uncomfortably close to women-in-prison exploitation terrain, while the remainder mixes a dash of “Freeway” with wilderness-flight suspense.

If none of this feels remotely original, it’s executed competently enough. However, its reference (expanded upon in closing onscreen text) to one of the more horrific institutional scandals in recent years — when it emerged that two Pennsylvania judges had taken kickbacks of nearly $3 million for sentencing thousands of kids as young as 10 to for-profit juvenile lockups, often for trivial offenses — has an unintended effect. Instead of confirming “The Archer” as an earnest fiction »

- Dennis Harvey

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