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Some thirty years after Arlis witnesses his father murdering a family, he runs into Kay, who happens to be the family's baby who was spared. Kay and Arlis suspect nothing about each other, but when his father returns, old wounds are reopened. Written by
Arlis (Dennis Quaid) is a vending machine owner who roams from town to town in West Texas. Greatly disturbed by horrific memories from his childhood, Arlis fails to connect with the women he meets. He prefers trysts with married women where no strings are attached. All of this changes the day Arlis meets Kay (Meg Ryan). Running away from an abusive and spendthrift husband, Kay encounters Arlis in a bar under amusing circumstances. Soon after, she is traveling with him on his circuit and they are falling in love. Bliss, however, is short. Arlis' evil father (James Caan) re-enters the life of his son and Arlis must once again suffer the consequences of the ties that bind them. Will it be possible for Arlis to break free from his past and begin a new life with Kay?
This is, truly, one of the most haunting films ever made. The story is a multi-faceted study of the nature of good and evil. Quaid and Ryan give such depth to their doomed and complex characters that the viewer stays mesmerized as the story unfolds. Caan, too, is a wonder as the bad-to-the-bone father. As for the sweeping and lovely cinematography, it perfectly realizes the beauty and desolation that is west Texas. The final scenes are guaranteed to put a lump in anyone's throat, tears included. Recommended highly for discriminating movie fans everywhere.
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