Andrew Garfield, Mahershala Ali, Ruth Negga, and five others received their first-ever acting nominations for 2017. While these actors are new to the Academy Awards, you may recognize them from their earlier work.
For a film to have significant appeal, it must have elements that make it memorable, but such is not the case in this instance where general production values in addition to sub-par post production activity sink the work from its beginning, despite earnest efforts from players in the cause of a plot that is cumbered with red herrings and illogicality. Clay Totin (Gary Swanson), investigative reporter for a large Chicago newspaper, for an undetermined reason goes to a small town in Texas to delve into an almost 50 year old murder and finds himself in the midst of a longstanding coverup apparently orchestrated by a locally-based United States Senator who has the town's residents in a Kremlin-like hold and who obviously is closely connected with the 1939 homicide of a cowboy film actor and his girl friend. Most members of the community seem to be strongly opposed to Clay's efforts to obtain a story, possible exceptions being a local deputy sheriff and a man (Wilford Brimley) who operates the local movie house, and of course an obligatory love interest - the Senator's daughter-in-law - but despite the script's meanderings and its flaws in continuity, a state of predictability colours the proceedings. The sound design must be indicted for its shrill effects and poor transfer, with quaint looping (characters speaking with closed mouths) while the opticals offer, seen through the everpresent murk of the piece, a seemingly endless procession of closeups depicting walking feet and hands reaching for doorknobs in this tiresome affair largely shot within and about an old hotel in Mineral Wells, Texas, and in other sectors of that State's lower Panhandle.
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