Runtime: 92 Mins
What To Expect: A fun movie driven by a fair story and strong cast – Liam Hemsworth not included
This small movie comes to us this month, Cut Bank, and for what it’s worth, weighs in as effective entertainment. It’s a small movie with big stars, or at least recently big stars. John Malkovich, Billy Bob Thornton and aged legend Bruce Dern. Oh and uh, Liam Hemsworth, you know, the cut price brother of steroid junkie Chris. Directed by Matt Shakman and produced by Kilburn Media, the cast was no doubt attracted to sign on the dotted line by the story and character driven premise. It’s sort of up the Coen Brothers’ lane. Perfunctory violence accompanies oddball freaks in an escalating farce.
That story has Liam Hemsworth’s Dwayne McClaren desperately want to escape the deadbeat town of Cut Bank, location: jerkwater, USA. If needs be, he’ll take his air headed girlfriend Cassandra, played by Teresa Palmer. Getting out of town however requires money. So McClaren sets about faking the death of wino postman George Wits, played by the fucking awesome Bruce Dern. The affable sheriff Vogel is John Malkovich, who must investigate the murder. McClaren also has to contend with a scowling and suspicious Billy Bob Thornton as his girlfriend’s father. Things go fine until unhinged nutjob Michael Stuhlbarg shows up looking for an undelivered parcel and will stop at nothing to get it.
It has a weird start, this one. The tone is odd at first, until things get rolling. It’s a surreal black comedy and men like Thornton, Malkovich and Dern were made for this type of thing. They deliver with the fine and nuanced trolling. But for me it’s Bruce Dern who steals the show. I can tell you man that I genuinely laughed out loud when Bruce Dern, master troll who looks about four hundred years old, denounces the rampaging psycho as a ‘fucking mongoloid’ to his face. Laughing now, just thinking about it. On the downside though is Liam Hemsworth. The guy it seems just didn’t get it, that he was in a black comedy. He plays it straight as a rod, like he’s in CSI or something. That kind of detracts from things when the entirety of the cast are complimenting a worthy story but the central figure is walking around with a thousand yard stare on his face.
This small movie is no classic. But it’s worthy of 90 minutes, for sure.