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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
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on 1 July 2017
A load of rubbish. Terribly acted and lacks any form of charm or originality.
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on 6 December 2014
It's a good film with excellent performances and gore to make you wince. It's about cops and colour and love - see it if you can....it is quite powerful stuff; I took a female friend of mine to see it and had to grab her by the belt of her jeans to stop her walking away.
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on 30 June 2001
One False Move - DVD
As soon as i got a DVD player, this was the first DVD i went out and brought. Having seen the film (from IRS Media) before i knew it was an essential purchase which would stand up to repeat viewing.
The Director's commentary is very listenable and provides insight into the production and thinking behind several key scenes. It is amazing to think this movie was made for only $2m US.
The shocking murder scene 5 minutes in, is controversal, and nearly made me switch off first time round, but on repeat viewing (and with Franklin's reasoning from the commentory) it becomes more an essential part of the story rather than just another gross-out/shock attempt.
Billy Bob Thornton's screenplay is superb, as is his acting (and that of his co-stars including Michael Beech and Bill Paxton), which helps us identify, if not quite like the charactor 'Ray'.
The haunting climax aided by a well used blues soundtrack is also worthy of specific recognition, but in short this movie will not disapoint any audience appreciating an intersting story.
Best watched while eating alfafa and black eyed peas on prime numbered days of any month begining with the letter 'J' or 'M'.
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on 17 October 2001
One False Move is basically a modern day remake of High Noon wich I feel is just as good if not better than the afformentioned film. The western theme of the movie is ever present with small time hick sherrif Bill Paxton lying in wait for the drug dealing physcos murderers.The direction is very assured from debut boy Carl Franklin and the performances are really affecting, especially Bill Paxton. The scene in which Paxton's dreams of becoming a big city cop are crushed by the two FBI agents is haunting as you see all of Paxtons emotion drain from his face. I regard this scene as a classic and Bill Paxton has never been better.
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on 6 December 2013
The film starts with a robbery and accompanying massacre and then follows the three villains, 2 men and a woman, as they make a cross states car journey , murdering as they go, to the woman's former home town, where Paxton is the sheriff . The LA detectives are involved in pursuit and against them Pullman comes across as a naïve amateur though, as it turns out, a brave one. His position is also compromised by his having had an affair with the female fugitive before she left the town.
Tension is maintained till the end, a shoot out
The story holds you throughout, and the cast, particularly Bill Paxton , Billy Bob Thornton and Cynda Williams, are outstanding. One of the best thrillers about.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 23 August 2016
Carl Franklin’s 1992 crime thriller takes a well-established premise – that of 'big city’ cops moving to 'the sticks’ in order to solve a case (this time, involving drugs and murder) – and imbues it with a tense, atmospheric mood plus a number of impressive character performances from his cast. Taking us from a violent drugs heist in LA to the sultry south of Arkansas, Franklin’s narrative follows two parallel trajectories. The first – more conventional and, for me, less successful – charts the in-fighting and bickering between the criminal trio of boyfriend/girlfriend, Bill Bob Thornton’s Ray and Cynda Williams’ 'reluctant moll’, Fantasia/Lila, plus (in tow) Michael Beach’s cool sadist, 'Pluto’. The second follows a pair of 'interloper’ LA cops into the southern territory (the intended destination of the criminal trio) of Bill Paxton’s naïve small-town cop and family man, Dale 'Hurricane’ Dixon.

It is this second thread and, in particular, the characterisation and performance of Paxton where Franklin’s film really scores. We’ve seen it before, of course, the local cop aspiring to reputations of the men from the big city and being conflicted between personal ambition and more domestic duties, but Paxton gets the mix of un-PC bravado and apprehension just right and we’re (of course) rooting for him all the way. As the tension builds and the trio approach Dixon’s patch, Franklin and co-screenwriter Bob Thornton reveal that Dixon and local girl Lila go back a long way, thus upping the stakes for Dale still further. The film’s 'southern gothic’ ambience is particularly to the fore during the latter stages thanks to its infectious blues harmonica soundtrack. One False Move also has an 18 certificate for its (relatively few) bouts of clinical violence, but it is through the humanity of the Dixon and (eventually) Lilia characters that Franklin’s film should be remembered. For those interested, Paxton and Bob Thornton were reunited (albeit as very different characters) six years later in the equally impressive A Simple Plan.
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I liked this little known 1992 B-movie. It is an original and well done thing. The story is quite interesting, contains some surprises and the ending is not half bad. Below, more of my impressions, with some LIMITED SPOILERS.

It all begins with three criminals. Ray (Billy Bob Thornton) is the archetypical "white trash" guy, who already served time and who is as neurotic and insecure as he is violent. He hooked up with a young black girl who uses the name Fantasia (Cynda Williams) - she is more stable and less violent, but still a dangerous person. Pluto (Michael Beach), is a seemingly very calm and very calculating black man - but notwithstanding his high IQ, he has serious issues, which send him to prison before. The film begins when those three very different people meet a minor drug dealer in LA. As result of this meeting, they will travel east, with their final destination a small town, Star City in Arkansas, for reasons I will not reveal here.

The police chief of Star City, Dale "Hurricane" Dixon (Bill Paxton) is warned by LAPD that there is a possibility that those three rather dangerous people can come acalling. Considering this as a challenge and a possibility to prove himself, together with all his forces (two deputies) he prepares for a possible confrontation... But NOTHING will go as planned, both for the three criminals and the ambitious provincial sheriff...

This is a really, really well done little film with a really strong scenario (Billy Bob Thornton was the co-writer). The tension is building up through the whole film until the unavoidable dramatic great finale. With time we learn to know the three bandits and this small town police chief. There are surprises and twists in the scenario, there is some humour, there are some interesting secondary and tertiary characters, etc. Actors did very well, with Bill Paxton and Cynda Williams being the best, but Michael Beach plays perfectly the very scary Pluto and Billy Rob Thornton clearly has great fan portraying the neurotic, extraverted, outspoken, violent and aggresive but ultimately not too bright Ray.

I am very glad that I saw this film - in fact it is possible that I see it again sometime in the future. I rented it, but it is worth buying and keeping. It is definitely much better than many big budgeted recent Hollywood productions. ENJOY!
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on 19 December 2012
This is a bold and courageous film, intelligent and extremely gripping. You realise early on that there will be a huge clash at the end but that only heightens the tension. The film also deals with racial issues that still plague our society where people live in denial and are happy to believe they are not racist so long as everything's at arms length but the moment people are faced with this issue on a personal level it's a different story. Bill Paxton brings both humour and a sensitivity to his role. His presence is towering and the rest of the cast don't let up. This film is for anybody and everybody!
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on 6 December 2015
Raw end emotional, just the way I like them. This is not your typical, brainless Hollywood cops and robbers kind of thing. It's gritty, taut and focuses on characters rather than on meaningless action scenes.
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