Writer/Director: John Sayles
Running time: 135 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15
UK Release date: 11th October 1996
Watched on Sky+ Saturday 28th September 2013.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
I knew very little about this one on the way in and so it was a bit of a revelation to me. I’m not awfully big on Westerns but this modern take on the genre with a huge dose of noir was a nice surprise. Some great performances with the likes of Chris Cooper as Sam, Elizabeth Peña as Pilar and Kris Kristofferson as Charlie Wade all putting in some great work. The story revolves around the recently returned Sherriff, Sam who becomes embroiled in investigating the conduct of his father (the previous Sherriff) when a body is found in the desert outside the town. Set in southern Texas, there are many threads that are woven in this complex tale of corruption and intrigue. There are many flashbacks that help the audience to understand the characters and the various motivations of those being investigated.
If anything I found this one a little too complex; there were several threads that seemed totally unrelated to the main thrust of the story. It’s also, I felt, a little too long; the filmmakers are asking quite a lot for an audience to concentrate for two hours and fifteen minutes. It is slow paced, but I didn’t particularly mind that; I’m used to the noir style and it is usually quite a slow burner. Some great performances with Chris Cooper coping well with the leading role and Kris Kristofferson playing the villain of the peace with gusto. Also we have Elizabeth Peña, who did an excellent job as the female lead and a small part for Matthew McConaughey as Buddy Deeds. Although it does have its problems I still found it an excellent watch; definitely one to look out for for all you noir fans out there.
SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED
My score: 7.5/10.
IMDb Score: 7.5/10 (based on 18,083 votes when this review was written).
MetaScore: 78/100: (Based on 22 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 44/100 “Want to see”: (based on 8,927 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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