Valentine Casey is a U.S. Marshal in the desolate Tucson territory of the early 1900s. On Christmas Eve, his outlaw family pays him a disturbing visit. He must confront the sins of his past...
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A single father balances his work as an attorney with the care of his five-year-old son and his work as a high school basketball coach in rural Kansas, where he moved after his wife ... See full summary »
Valentine Casey is a U.S. Marshal in the desolate Tucson territory of the early 1900s. On Christmas Eve, his outlaw family pays him a disturbing visit. He must confront the sins of his past. He and his partner, U.S. Christmas, journey through the desert to a small town that the ruthless Henry Clan has hit in order to save Casey's love, Adelyne.Written by
Sujit R. Varma
I saw the movie a few days ago and, to be honest, when the final credits rolled I thought I had just watched a near miss film. I had a lot of hopes for Mr. Yoakam's writing, directorial, star debut because of the "outside the box" psyche his career and approach to music express. I wasn't disappointed, exactly, perhaps stymied is a better word. Now, however, a few days after viewing the movie, I realize what a wonderfully different, engagingly off centered film it was. I keep thinking of the word "raw" in its many connotations. The movie has no hero but it has heroism. There are no great people but there is greatness. It's a film of details, visual and story and the only actor in the film who didn't make me buy his character was Vince Vaughn although he redeemed himself in the last reels where it seemed he had finally connected with his bad guy alter ego. Dwight was straight on all the way through, drifting in out of left field like he always does and standing right next to you before you realize he's there. This ain't John Wayne or Clint Eastwood but you'll surprize yourself how much you expect it, how much you should have seen it coming and how relieved you are Dwight isn't the fastest gun in the west and good and evil laces itself through all the characters and story lines. Life doesn't run on a script and neither does this movie, it's life's accidents and miscalculated tosses of a stick of dynamite that propels our lives and this film. We stumble our way to our destiny, to our conclusion. It was also great to see all those familiar faces and I'm still utterly and intensely bamboozeled about who and what and why Billy Bob Thorton was about in this movie. Talk about a curio. For me, the movie's finest moment came a couple of days after I had seen it, when I began to realize the appeal of this breed of "different". I imagine I'll buy this video and watch it again every couple of years or so. I know there's a lot I missed but I'm going to enjoy, at my leisure and in repeat viewings, deciphering what Dwight Yoakam was doing here. It's a very difficult film to recommend because even an open mind can fail to find substance to grab a hold. But once you watch it, you can't put it down. I really believe this will give Dwight Yoakam the foot in the door to take Yoakam films forward and I'm just as convinced he'll do something very interesting and of lasting significance in cinema sometime in the future. But South of Heaven, West of Hell, will be a stand alone piece forever. Watch the movie if you're into different, it's dreary real, hilarious, grimy, disgusting, moments of real brilliance and, though I've heard no one mention it, has moments of dead on minor level special effects. But I have a question for viewers; has anyone noticed that Dwight Yoakam in a hat and sans a hat are two completely different characters?
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