One False Move

Review Date:
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
One white-trash huckster, his girlfriend Fantasia, and a cold, black College grad are on the run from the police after they dispense of some folks in a drug-related robbery. Headed towards her childhood town, Fantasia and the quibbling duo, take every precaution to avoid detection, but their respective weaknesses soon draw the L.A. police and a local small town Sheriff, right onto their butts.
Gritty, engaging, enjoyable and laced with spurts of graphic violence, this film presents us with several well-drawn out characters from different backgrounds, and recounts a tale of greed, drugs and accountability. The star of this film is definitely the script and the characters so well portrayed by the respective actors in this film. The story is evenly-paced and easy to handle, with the plot leading you down several paths at once, twisting and turning when need be, and adding several elements of the ol’ small town humour. I really enjoyed this movie because it was an original plot that had me extremely interested in the characters and their eventual outcomes.

Bill Paxton was the standout in my mind as the perfectly naïve, 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.

(c) 2021 Berge Garabedian

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