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Uncle John (2015)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 18 September 2015 (USA)
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In this tale of small town intrigue, an urbanite returns to his quiet hometown on an impromptu trip as his Uncle, widely respected in town, struggles to evade suspicion of a murder.

Director:

Steven Piet

Writers:

Erik Crary (co-writer), Steven Piet (co-writer)
6 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
John Ashton ... John
Alex Moffat ... Ben
Jenna Lyng Adams ... Kate (as Jenna Lyng)
Ronnie Gene Blevins ... Danny
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Cynthia Baker Cynthia Baker ... Franny
Andy Cameron ... Gross Guy
Adria Dawn ... Mary
Tim Decker ... Dex
Don Forston ... Frank
Janet Glimme Janet Glimme ... Mrs. Thompson
Gary Houston ... Ace
Matt Kozlowski ... Verne
Ashleigh LaThrop ... Beth
Tawny Newsome ... Cute Hipster Girl
Ian Pfaff Ian Pfaff ... TV Host (voice)
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Storyline

John is a kindly, well-liked old man in a small rural town. John has just killed a man named Dutch. Dutch had done a lot of bad things to a lot of nice people. Nobody in town would think to implicate John - nobody but Danny, Dutch's violent drunk of a brother. John's nephew Ben arrives from Chicago on an impromptu trip to his hometown as his uncle struggles to evade Danny's growing suspicions and looming threats. In this masterfully acted tale of small-town intrigue, one man's need for revenge may cost many more their lives.

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Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

Official Site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 September 2015 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

John bácsi See more »

Filming Locations:

Lodi, Wisconsin, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
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Did You Know?

Goofs

When they are all outside at Uncle John's house getting the food ready for their barbecue, Kate's hair suddenly goes from being down to up in a ponytail and then back to down again. See more »

Soundtracks

Pair of Wings
by Frankie Rose
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User Reviews

 
A daring gem of an indie and finally a proper showcase for John Ashton
29 September 2015 | by bob_megSee all my reviews

John Ashton is one of those supremely gifted character actors that constantly find themselves in movies not quite worthy of their talents. The litmus test is this: Search through Ashton's film resume here on IMDb and find movies you've seen that he's starred in. His wide-eyed, wizened face has been endearing you longer than you may realize (his most famous turn has got to be as Judge Reinhold's gruffly sardonic mentor in "Beverly Hills Cop"). His comedic delivery is often so dry it crackles.

This makes him the perfect find for the title role in director Steven Piet's surprisingly engaging, often very funny thriller "Uncle John." The film begins with John hauling away and burning a body in one of his fields on his rural Illinois farm. The victim turns out to be a guy named Dutch who (from the vitriol spouted by almost everyone in the small town) people despised --- and even more so when he found religion and embarked on the not-too-smart idea of going from door to door and "apologizing" for his past sins.

Piet and co-writer Erik Crary's script is rather bold in its execution however, because it doesn't just stick with John and his quietly engrossing story. The writers ping-pong constantly to another plot revolving around John's nephew (Alex Moffat) and a co-worker he's tentatively courting (Jenna Lyng) at a small commercial ad agency in Chicago. For a good part of the film, you'll wonder what the hell this plot has to do with the A-story, but after a while you won't care: Moffat and Lyng have such an electric chemistry and their dialogue is so real, so drop-dead funny at times, that it's just a joy to watch (the B-story actually does provide a lot of insight into John's character, though it's not really needed thanks to Ashton's skill).

It's one of those two-trains-speeding-down-the-track-rolling-right-for-each-other-type scripts (think "No Country for Old Men," though not on that scale, obviously). And of course there's a time bomb at the collision point, and quite a menacing one, in Ronnie Gene Blevins, who plays the dead guy's angry, redneck, slightly-psychotic younger brother.

It all comes together because of Ashton, however. As per usual, he conceals virtually everything he's feeling, but in that cunningly transparent way that lets you into his subconscious --- whether you want to be there or not. He tells you everything you need to know about his life, his dead wife (who Dutch was snaking), and his sense of morality without saying much at all. It's all in that face and those eyes, which have just gotten more expressive with time.

"Uncle John" also gets the look, feel, and cadence of rural Illinois stunningly right. The diner scenes with John's daily cronies (Don Forsten, Gary Houston, and Matt Kozlowski --- all worth mentioning) are priceless and not just in non-condescending accuracy. They're a wonderful Greek chorus. And Alex Moffat's dry-ice deliveries recall David Spade at his sharpest.

It's not a film for the impatient, but there's a mother-lode of riches in that there brush fire.


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