||IMDB Rating: 6.1/10 from 16 votes
||Release: 14 October 2010 (Netherlands) /
||Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
||Director: John Curran,
||Stars: Ali Nazary, Bill Pullman, Blake Lindsley, Brent Briscoe, Casey Affleck, Elias Koteas, Jay R. Ferguson, Jessica Alba, Kate Hudson, Liam Aiken, Matthew Maher, Ned Beatty, Simon Baker, Tom Bower, Zach Josse
||Synopsis: Sadism and masochism beneath a veneer of revenge. Lou Ford is a mild-mannered sheriff's deputy in a Texas oil town in the mid 1950's. His boss sends him to roust a prostitute living in a rural house. She slaps him; he hits her, then, after daily sex for the next few weeks, he decides it's love. She's devoted to him and becomes his pawn in a revenge plot she thinks is to shakedown the son of Chester Conway, the town's wealthy king of construction. Lou has a different plan, and bodies pile up as murder leads to murder. The district attorney suspects Lou, and Conway may have an inkling, but Lou stays cool. Is love, or at least peace, in the cards? Written by <[email protected]>
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If you've followed the history of this film, then you know it was
twenty years in the making. The producers who optioned the rights were
on a veritable quest. At one point, Val Kilmer was slated to act, Sean
Penn, to direct.
Eventually, many Thompson fans consigned the project to limbo, not
knowing how passionate the parties involved actually were. (Chris
Hanley is the same producer who delivered This World, Then the
Fireworks -- one of the most faithful and unapologetic Thompson
adaptations.) Having seen Winterbottom's final cut, I'm glad the
producers took their time. The screenplay writer and director have made
a film so uncompromisingly faithful to Thompson's novel that a few
audience members will usually leave the theater during the most graphic
Make no mistake: This movie is more grisly than anything by Sam
Peckinpah, and the subject is as misogynistic as that of Straw Dogs
(though it's the character, not the director, who hates women in this
case). If you're a person who can't watch or sanction scenes in which
women are brutalized, then this is a film to avoid.
If not, then you're ready to see the book represented in its pulpy
essence, with excesses and virtues on display.
Psychopathic sheriff Lou Ford is equal parts self-destructive sadist,
con man and facade. For him, excessive politeness and long-windedness
are forms of veiled hostility. Brutal sarcasm is delivered in a
good-natured everyman way. Everything Ford says is double entendre, the
punchline, only apparent to him. He ushers people to their doom in the
same tone he might use to offer them a drink.
Other film adaptations, from Tavernier's Coup de Torchon to the 70s
version of Killer, have missed Ford's quintessentially Southern
hostility. Those French and So Cal readings failed to recognize the
specific way in which Thompson, himself a Texan, turns the naive
good-natured American stereotype on its head. Winterbottom understands
it and shows it, as does his lead.
The actor who plays Ford is famous but not yet so ubiquitous that his
celebrity obscures the power of Ford's character. Since character
carries an unusual amount of weight in Thompson stories, Casey Afflick
was a perfect choice: Likable and chameleonic, with an admirable range
and a delivery so spent and inviting it will remind you of Bill
Clinton's. You don't just enjoy this portrayal of Ford because he's an
interesting villain. You actually sympathize with the character's
attempts to regain self-control.
When I read a reviewer's description of Ford listening to classical
music and reading Freud, I groaned. I thought he'd been reduced to
another Hannibal Lecter. The psychopath who resembles a James Bond
nemesis and reveals his intelligence by listening to classical music
and quoting Nietzsche is an '80s cliché.
Not to worry: Affleck's Ford never talks about culture and he never
From the period-specific tone to the apparent humility and social
restraint of the killer -- which made readers sympathize with him even
after he committed acts that seemed designed to justify the death
penalty -- this film is to Thompson what Wynton Marsalis is to Miles
Davis: Reverent to the point of sacrificing personality, but giving
back everything in terms of performance, style and formal correctness.
The attention to form was particularly appreciated: Having read the
book twice, I knew what was coming and still enjoyed the ending.
Tags for Full Movie
, Bill Pullman
, Blake Lindsley
, Brent Briscoe
, Casey Affleck
, Elias Koteas
, Jay R. Ferguson
, Jessica Alba
, Kate Hudson
, Liam Aiken
, Matthew Maher
, Ned Beatty
, Simon Baker
, Tom Bower
, Zach Josse
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