One False Move

RATED-(R)-105-MIN-1992

 

 

 

 

When One False Move came out, it was a small film that had no chance of getting any kind of wide distribution. It was basically relegated to a few scattered art house theaters here and there in the US.I saw it at the Brattle in Cambridge. It was destined for video release,until Siskel and Ebert sang it’s praise on TV, and because of their glowing review and other critics, it got a bigger distribution. From that day forward, studios started considering smaller films to distribute, and many films that probably would have never seen past a dusty corner of a video store, got studio backing. Like I said before, if you love film, then you had to love Siskel and Ebert.

Oh, by the way; it is a great movie. Starting off in LA, It follows the story of two prison mates, Ray (Billy Bob Thorton, who co wrote the script) a two time crook, and Pluto (Michael Beach) a cold blooded killer who like knifes, and Ray’s girlfriend (Fantasia); who after a drug deal gone bad and people are killed, take the drugs and head off to Houston to sell them. Fantasia, a troubled woman from a small town in Arkansas, will head back there and wait for Ray and Pluto to sell the drugs and then meet them her back in Star City, Arkansas. Meanwhile, the police in La are on there trail and suspect they might be headed back to Star City.

Back in Star City, the goofy and affable local police chief Dale Dixon nicknamed Hurricane (a terrific Bill Paxton), is contacted by the LA PD and tells him the are sending two detectives to help in the apprehension of the murderers when they arrive in Star City. They think the killers are coming there he tells them. Bored with his small town police duties of late night drunken domestic dispute calls, Dale is pretty pumped up at the prospect of helping in doing some big time police business. When the detectives arrive, they are certainly out of their element and Hurricane is all too happy to help them out. Paxton is like a little kid in these early scenes,which makes the second act of the film that more dramatic, and Paxton’s performance that much more impressive. Everybody has secrets.

Back on the road, Ray and Pluto leave carnage wherever they go. Ray is a dangerous, not too bright thug, and Pluto is a genius who ultimately may be using Ray as his dog. The murder scenes in this film are brutal and done in a very in your face way. It is ugly, and the fact that the character of Pluto shows no feeling carrying them out, and that he looks like a professor,makes it all that more frightening. Thorton and Beach are very good in the roles of two very different kinds of killers. This was the directing debut of Carl Franklin, and it is a tremendous first film. It is focused, paced well, and the script by Billy Bob Thornton and Tom Epperson is first rate. This film deserved the praise it got and the fact that it made big budget Hollywood stand up and take notice of independent film is the icing on the cake.The story of these ill fated people and their history catching up with them may not be an original idea, but they way it is written and executed in this movie is. You should see this great film.