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 ... See full summary »
Alex, a hit man, tries to get out of the family business, but his father won't let him do so. While seeking the help of a therapist, he meets a sexually charged 23-year-old woman with whom he falls in love.
William H. Macy,
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. Into this comes a serial killer who befriends Clay, even to murdering the nagging widow for him... but certainly not at Clay's request. But that doesn't matter for the police, as well as for a savvy female FBI agent who sees Clay as their prime suspect. Yet Clay doesn't tell them of his 'friend' who admits to him of his serial killings, primarily because Clay sees himself as somewhat of an accomplice, in that he seems to have introduced to the killer each young woman that is killed... in fact, the sheriff comments that he wishes Clay would quit finding the murdered victims, which he always seems to do. But at last Clay is able to turn from being the pigeon... to giving the film its very unpredictable conclusion. Written by
BOB STEBBINS <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Star Joaquin Phoenix was at first apprehensive about taking the role of Clay because he feared that the scripts combination of humor and violence wouldn't translate well to screen. However, Phoenix changed his mind after meeting an enthusiastic David Dobkin and took the role. See more »
The sheriff's badge has 6 points, but his SUV has a 7 point star on the door. See more »
Clay Pigeons is one of those movies that I only rented because I worked at a video store when it was released and I got movie rentals for free and would go through every movie that came out. I'm glad I rented it, too, because this is one of the best thrillers I've seen in years. Like it's title, there's nothing really complex or intricate about it, and it even follows pretty close to the usual thriller plotline, but it is so well acted and written that it thrills and entertains throughout the entire film.
The characters are made up mostly of caricatures. Caricatures, in this case, oddly enough, of the actors performing them rather than the role that needed to be filled in the story. Janeane Garofalo plays the part of an FBI agent assigned to investigate the various murders that begin turning up in a small town. Like most of her characters, she is disillusioned, sarcastic, and continually amazed at the sheer idiocy with which she is surrounded. Vince Vaughn delivers a wonderful performance as the villain, with his endless charm making him the perfect actor to play the part of a serial killer. `They're all charming,' as they say.
As is often the case, Joaquin Phoenix also plays a rather unenviable role, as he did in movies like 8MM, To Die For, and Gladiator. He is a good guy in Clay Pigeons, but after you watch the movie it becomes obvious that this guy must just have a serious problem with bad luck. A good friend of Clay's (Phoenix) kills himself in a remote location early in the film because of an affair that Clay has been having with his wife, forcing Clay to alter the scene to make it look like an accidental death in order to avoid looking like he did it to get rid of him so that he could be with his wife.
It's strange to notice the absolute absence of any kind of remorse or sadness that this wife shows after her husband kills himself. Clay is freaking out, and this vicious bitch wants to continue their sexual escapades as though nothing has even happened. When Lester Long (Vaughn) shows up, he strikes up a friendship with Clay and, through a bizarre fishing incident, becomes irreversibly intertwined with Clay's murders. Basically they are stuck working together for the rest of the movie no matter how much Clay's hatred for Lester grows. You'll just have to watch the movie to see why.
I thought that the ending was a tiny bit of a copout, if only because it involves a situation at a distant roadside diner/café that ends too perfectly. This situation just had way too many variables that could have happened to have come off exactly as it was expected to, but the movie was still so good that it is more than worth it. If you are looking for a great thriller (and you've already seen The Way of the Gun), Clay Pigeons is the way to go.
29 of 32 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?