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A single mother and her embattled son struggle to subsist in a small Mississippi Delta township. An act of violence thrusts them into the world of an emotionally devastated highway store owner, awakening the fury of a bitter and longstanding conflict. Written by
This is very much a modern American drama. Though issues such as drugs, gangs, broken family relations, violent poorly managed schools, unemployment, and financial breakdowns play a role in steering the lives of the principal characters, the primary emotion is sorrow. The suicide of a twin brother is the trigger that brings three characters -- the brother of the victim, the ex-wife and son -- to clash.
Given the fine performances of the three principals and the supporting cast, it is hard to believe that those roles are played by non-professionals. The director picked them from the local population, deep in the Mississippi Delta. Certainly there is talent here, the woman especially. But credit is due to the director who expertly calibrated the acting, mixing the right doses of melancholy, anger and disappointment. The same can be said of the environment. The wintry landscape with its scattered naked trees, resting agricultural land, and gray skies add to a sense of continual sadness.
Thankfully the director spared us from a musical track. The sounds are natural. The light as much. The plot linear. The Dogma rulebook applied.
The end is abrupt. The beginning is almost as abrupt. The past can be guessed. The future is an open question as it carries conflicting emotions. How you choose to continue the story in your mind depends on whether you are an optimist or a pessimist.
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