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Robert J. Steinmiller Jr.,
Nick is caught in a dead end job in a dead end town. About the only thing going well for him is Lissa, his new girlfriend. A chance to make some easy cash, and a way out of town, only leads to more trouble. Also caught in the web of sex, thefts, gangsters, kidnappings and murder is Nick's college friend, Bryce. Written by
L.H. Wong <email@example.com>
Finally a worthy tribute to the film noir scene. Bravo!
Long live Mike Barker! This fairly fresh feature director has pulled off one of those rare tributes to the film noir scene, which once coloured the movie scene in the past. There have been worthy efforts, but this one seems to have it all right. The movie starts as most movies from Mike Barker start. Circumstances found as in the traditions of working class realism found in the films of Ken Loach and the novels of Alan Silitoe, colour the first couple of scenes. The story starts with a scene in which is explained that Bryce (Josh Brolin) has 'accidentally' raped a minor. He calls his old university buddy friend Nick (Nivola) to help him out. At this moment the story rewinds to 4 months earlier and we can peak in the history to see how this problem started. Nick has just lost his father, found out he doesn't get any money, and works at a recycling plant. He than engages in some criminal activities, which turns horribly sour and he ends up owing 15,000 dollars to a local criminal. Now, that's all you need to know about the storyline, there are so many plots and twists that even the most critical movie fan would be impressed by the surprises that are being thrown at you. The last time I experienced such a feast, was during the Usual Suspects, and that is quite a compliment.
Reese Witherspoon (Lissa, nick's girlfriend and the 'raped' minor) pulls off one of her more impressing acting roles since 'Freeway' Although a bit more constraint than her role in Freeway, her presence definitely enriches the movie. Allessandro Nivola (Nick) will await a big future. His nonchalance acting and worried looks, will make him the perfect actor for sub-blockbusters. Finally one of his bigger roles after movies such as Inventing the Abbotts and Face/Off. Josh Brolin is less appealing, but even he is not bad enough to ruin this movie.
Mike Barker continues his strong line of work, after The James Gang in '97. And in a sort of way, this movie resembles his previous to some aspect. In both movies poor families take center stage, and in both movies they are resulting in criminal activities because of the financial trouble they are in. Barker is definitely one of the most artistic directors around (up there with Scorsese), but one wonders if he doesn't overdue it a bit sometimes. Even these minor negative things can't make me change my mind that this is a great movie, cinematic wise, with a well written script, that the characters are well thought out and acted, and that Barker has proven himself once more that he is a major talent. Bravo!
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