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The story of John, a small-time crook, who finds an unlikely accomplice in Louis, a newly-orphaned teenage boy. As their open-road adventure progresses and John drags the kid on a string of robberies, the pair forge an unexpected and powerful bond.Written by
Except for the gun propping up the story, good - very good - in a European film melancholy joie de vivre, Francois Truffaut, or "Paris, Texas," kind of way. I'm reviewing it because it's quite good. If I'm still remembering it the next day, it was noteworthy. That's in no small measure a credit to excellent photography by Robert Barocci. I'll just say, the story could easily have been written without a gun - 'cuz that's my soapbox. Guns in films are so prevalent, there should be an Oscar for the guns.
The character played by Josh Duhamel isn't very deep, and is kind of an unredeemable punk, but that's the way the character was supposed to be played. Josh Wiggens is excellent in his role as the orphaned boy. The pair are a credible duo. I never thought for a second that the characters were Hollywood contrivances. A lot of critics thought the characters and story were too thin to carry a full-length feature. I disagree. It's a wretched tendency that U.S. filmmakers have of tending toward clobbering audiences with action or sentiment. The characters unfold in a quiet way through their gestures and appearances, as in a Cormac McCarthy novel.
A great haunting score by Daniel Hart is appropriate for the film and plays an unmistakably powerful role in accenting the drama, but I have to admit I'm a bit weary of the rock strings Godspeed You Black Emperor/Explosions in the Sky copycat genre, not because I don't like it, but because it offends my sensibilities that it's been beaten from overuse into flattened roadkill at the edge of a highway. Nevertheless, it's essential to under-girding this drama.
The score's performers got dropped into the post-production credits, I hate to say, because they carried the film through the longer ponderous landscape moments - carried the film more than, say, the hair artists. I looked them up, 'cuz that's how I rolls: Shawna Hamilton (cello), Borak Loftipour (percussion), Veronica Gan (violin), Maria Demus (violin), Annika Donnen (violin). These all seem to be musicians trying to get their footing in the business - all in Texas, I think - maybe Denton.
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