Review Date: December 25, 1998
Director: Carl Franklin
Writer: Billy Bob Thornton and Tom Epperson
Producers: Ben Myron
Billy Bob Thornton as Ray Malcolm
Bill Paxton as Dale "Hurricane" Dixon
Cynda Williams as Fantasia/ Lila
Bill Paxton was the standout in my mind as the perfectly na´ve, but enthusiastic small-town hick cop who reveled in the mere presence of a couple of more seasoned L.A. cops. There is one particular scene in which the out-of-town cops are speaking about him, without their knowledge of his presence nearby, which will always be stapled in my mind as an uncomfortable classic. Paxton's reaction after that scene was superb, and left you feeling deeply for the man by the end of the movie. Billy Bob was also excellent as the "good ol' boy" without the deepest of consciences, and Michael Beach as the coldest, most ruthful character that I have seen drawn to screen in a while. All in all, this movie was an amazing achievement in the genre, and matches the Coen brothers' classic BLOOD SIMPLE (8/10) and even John Dahl's RED ROCK WEST (8/10). Even the ending was semi-ambiguous as to leave us with our own conclusion. The characters are rich and lively, the script highly involved, and the movie a solid piece of entertaining cinema.