A veteran high school teacher befriends a younger art teacher, who is having an affair with one of her 15-year-old students. However, her intentions with this new "friend" also go well beyond platonic friendship.
A ballet dancer wins the lead in "Swan Lake" and is perfect for the role of the delicate White Swan - Princess Odette - but slowly loses her mind as she becomes more and more like Odile, the Black Swan.
Wound tight and cocky, Jimmy Starks is a smooth-talking salesman certain he's on the verge of a big break. Even when his car stalls in the middle of nowhere, a roadside soothsayer assures him a windfall is on its way. But although Jimmy should be happy when his boss suddenly agrees to financially back his business venture, he starts to become paranoid instead. As his girlfriend Deirdre and his best friend/ business partner Ed watch him slowly come unwound, Jimmy wonders if a past betrayal of his friend, newly paroled Vince, could be catching up to him. And, as the weather turns cold, Jimmy can't help but fear the mysterious seer's other prediction... that they'll be no tomorrow after the first snow. Written by
This taut little thriller, directed by first-timer Mark Fergus, is a real gripper with intelligence to spare and some seriously powerful stuff. The protagonist/anti-hero, Jimmy Starks (Guy Pearce in a role that hauntingly echoes his work in "Memento"), is a salesman/con man who easily slides in and out of legit selling and shady conning. Pearce carries this off beautifully, and is ably abetted in his downward spiraling tale by J.K. Simmons as Vaccaro, the strangely prescient soothsayer, William Fichtner as Jimmy's friend Ed, and some really great unknown actors in other supporting roles, principally the actor playing Jimmy's boss, who will hopefully go on to do more work on film (he's terrific).
Jimmy accidentally meets up with fortune teller Vaccaro who accurately predicts a win by a local college basketball team that Jimmy's bet on, as well as a windfall from an on-the-level business deal that Jimmy's involved in. What Vaccaro does not predict is the riveting, ever-darker series of events that ensue when Jimmy finds out that a former partner of his in a crooked scam, Vince, is now out on parole from a stretch in the slammer.
For my money, this is the best American noir thriller of the year so far, and would make a great addition, once it's out on DVD, to anyone's library of neo-noirs. The ending in particular is really strong--always the mark of a well-made film.
Try not to miss this. It's great.
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