Top positive review
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One false move from someone could spell disaster for everyone.....
on 7 April 2012
One False Move is directed by Carl Franklin and co-written by Billy Bob Thornton and Tom Epperson. It stars Thornton, Bill Paxton, Cynda Williams and Michael Beach. Music is by Peter Haycock, Derek Holt and Terry Plumeri and cinematography by James L. Carter.
Three criminals, Ray (Thornton), Fantasia (Williams) and Pluto (Beach), are on the run from LA. after a drug heist ends in a bloodbath. Heading for Star City, Arkansas, the three are oblivious to the fact that the law, both local and of L.A., is lying in wait for them.
One time actor Carl Franklin has good standing as a director in neo-noir circles, his Devil in a Blue Dress (1995) and Out of Time (2003) had the benefit of starring Denzel Washington, with the former often thought of as an undervalued treasure. Neither of those films, in my opinion, comes close to the excellence of One False Move. A superbly understated thriller that oozes fatalism while studying the characters at hand. Beginning with brutal attention grabbing violence, picture unfurls as a road movie until it reveals itself fully in the town of Bleakville. Franklin and his writers slowly open up the story to reveal an emotionally complex thriller, bleeding the flaws from the main players with clinical glee. These be a mix of classic losers, psychotics, redemption seekers and a naive dreamer, and there's a link from the past that's going to impact devastatingly on the present.
Modelled on a High Noon good guys Vs bad guys like destiny, narrative also has little observations on racism and the class divide between big city America and small town Americana. Sly little reveals in the script such as a policeman's alcohol problem show good attention to detail by the makers. While Franklin has a wonderful way with his camera, only revealing enough for us to fill in the blanks, and often his camera is used as a character POV device, with close ups and cuts blending seamlessly with mood of the story. The cast are uniformly strong, with the stand outs Williams, Paxton and Thornton reaching down deep to give their respective characters some stunning grittiness, doling out sadness, misguidedness and rage with a believability that's as impressive as it is riveting to watch.
One of the best crime pictures of the 90s and an essential viewing for anyone interested in pure neo-noir. 9/10