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Clay (as in the title) is a young man in a small town who witnesses his friend kill himself because of the ongoing affair that Clay was having with the man's wife. Feeling guilty, Clay now resists the widow when she presses him to continue with their sexual affairs. Clay befriends a troubling serial killer. Written by
BOB STEBBINS <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Clay Pigeons" was a pleasant surprise to discover. Director David Dobkin, working with Matt Healye's screen play, has created a film with a western flavor in which a young man has the bad fortune of being around when different dead bodies are found; it doesn't take too long when Clay will be implicated in them.
Clay is an auto mechanic who made the mistake of having an affair with one of his buddies' wife. Earl reminds Clay at the beginning of the film when he decides to kill himself. He is convinced his death will have "Clay" written all over it. What's more, his widow, Amanda, the young and sexy woman who had the affair with Clay wants to continue the relationship now that her old man is gone. Clay, who has been scared out of his mind with what he had witnessed wants to be millions of miles apart from Amanda, who keeps pressuring the young man for sex.
One night at the local tavern, Lester Long, a stranger to the town, witnesses how Clay slaps Amanda in front of everyone because he has had it with her. Lester, who appears to be a friendly guy, strikes a conversation with Clay and invites him to go fishing in a nearby lake. That same lake is the place where Clay had taken the corpse of Gloria, who was killed while having sex with him by the deranged Amanda. Little does Clay know who his new friend really is.
When the FBI is called to investigate Amanda's own death, things begin to spiral for Clay. Everything is out of control. Agent Shelby thinks Clay is the one responsible for Amanda's killing and a string of others like it in the area. Clay puts two and two together and he realizes who is the killer and puts a plan into action. The last thing we see is Clay leaving town and driving in the opposite direction.
Joaquin Phoenix makes Clay come alive in a great reading of this character. Mr. Phoenix is at times the confused man who is perplexed and wonders how anyone can be accusing him of the crimes he supposedly committed. Vince Vaughn is perfect as the reptilian Lester Long. He adds a layer to his character with the nervous laugh he doesn't seem to control. Janeane Garofalo plays FBI agent Shelby with good results. Scott Wilson is seen as Sheriff Mooney who believes in Clay's innocence.
The excellent music score provided by John Lurie serves the movie well as does the cinematography of Eric Edwards. David Dobkin directed with assurance, making this film become a good way to spend some time.
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