Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Bad Turn Worse: Texas Noir
for work? You might consider moving to Texas. The state unemployment rate is a
full point lower than New York and a cotton mill in the middle of scrub-grass nowhere
is about to have a number of vacancies. It also happens to launder dirty money.
Would that be a problem? It will be for the earnest but not too bright Bobby.
He and his friends will be forced to waylay the next big cash delivery on
behalf of their unscrupulous boss. Expect a double-cross or two in Simon &
Zekie Hawkins’ Bad Turn Worse (a.k.a. We Gotta Get Out of this Place, trailer
which opens this Friday in New York.
is not as smart as his best frienemy B.J.’s girlfriend Sue, but they will both
soon go off to college, leaving him and the town behind. For a last hurrah,
B.J. boosts twenty grand from their boss Giff’s safe for a celebratory weekend
in Corpus Christi. They have a wild time, in an awkward kind of way, but will
have to pay for it when they return.
Bobby and Sue were not involved in the original theft, they are still on the
hook with Giff. Technically, it was not his money B.J. pilfered. It belonged to
Giff’s boss, Big Red. Rather than restitution, Giff demands a repeat performance
on his behalf, but at a time when a major cash shipment will come through. Being
the nice guy idiot he is, Bobby needs a bit of convincing, but Giff will
pressure him at his weakest point: Sue. Of course, if Bobby knew of their
feelings for each other, it would really lead to trouble.
if Sue is so smart and reads so many crime novels (particularly Jim Thompson,
whom the film name-checks in an early scene), you have to wonder what she is
doing with a conspicuous heap of trouble like B.J. Still, if you can suspend
disbelief that far, BTW is a pretty
lean and mean little thriller. It has a humid sense of place, a few effective
twists, and most importantly a terrific primary villain.
is no question Mark Pellegrino steals the film out-right as the serpentine
Giff. However, John Gries and William Devane also score in brief appearances as
the corrupt Sheriff Shep and the dreaded Big Red, respectively. This is the sort of film where the
antagonists have the protagonists completely outclassed and over-matched, but
that is not such a bad thing in film noir, or more specifically Texas Noir.
Poor Jeremy Allen White’s Bobby and Logan Huffman’s B.J. are just buried in the
East Texas dust, but at least Mackenzie Davis manages to hold up her end.
asks for trouble by invoking Thompson, because it
never quite rises to his level of hot-in-the-shade skullduggery. Nonetheless,
it is considerably superior to most recent forays into Texas noir, like the
wildly uneven Rushlights. Recommended
for fans of dark, sweaty thrillers, Bad
Turn Worse opens this Friday (11/14) in New York at the Village East.
Labels: Film Noir, Texas Cinema