Thursday, September 25, 2014

Cut Bank [film review]

Cut Bank, from rookie feature director Matt Shakman (a veteran TV director), squanders an impressive cast that features Billy Bob Thornton, Bruce Dern, John Malkovich, and Oliver Platt in a small-town crime noir story that falls well short of its Coen Brothers-level ambitions. Set in the titular Montana town, Cut Bank centres around a fraud plot gone wrong that ends up leading to all sorts of unpleasant business. That foursome of seasoned actors all turn in solid performances with the thin material, especially Malkovich as the comic relief-providing sheriff who's seemingly out of his element, even though he's been doing the job for years. Dern, Platt, and Thornton all have more limited roles, however, leaving far too much screen time for Liam Hemsworth, who barely registers in his performance as a mechanic dreaming of an escape to the promised land of Hollywood with his girlfriend. Michael Stuhlbarg's unhinged town oddball makes things a tad more interesting whenever he's around, but the disjointed and undercooked story eventually goes off the rails, as Cut Bank and its quirk-heavy characters and plot twists end up leaving little impression.   

Rating: C-

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