Paula Deen and other Dixie “traditionalists” would most likely approve of this rose-hued reflection on a certain privileged strain of Jim Crow–era Southern life: Local folk hero Ward Allen (Jim Caviezel) is an Oxford-educated plantation heir who shuns his wealth for a career in duck hunting. The lifestyle and his choice of companion, freed slave Christmas (Chiwetel Ejiofor), earn a few side-eyes from the townsfolk, as does his regular refusal to abide by the local government’s game quotas. But without a Goliath to his David, the Shakespeare-quoting, Thoreau-esque outdoorsman’s life drifts rudderless. Like Allen’s bagged prey, the movie’s story is limp, its romances are flightless and—despite the talented cast—its performances are toothless.
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