A superb modern thriller in the ultra-hardboiled Jim Thompson mould, in which a trio of criminals, wanted for a brutally murderous drugs heist, converge on a small, quiet Arkansas township where the local cop, treated with contempt by the LA officers in charge of the case, looks forward to a High Noon-style showdown. The asides on racial and sexual inequality are made subtly and succinctly; the performances and pacing are nigh perfect; the violence is explicit, disturbing but never gratuitous; and Franklin - a black actor whose directing debut this is - achieves a consistency of mood that other far more experienced film-makers would give their right arms for. One of the finest American movies in recent years.
Cast and crew
Billy Bob Thornton, Tom Epperson
Bill Paxton Cynda Williams Billy Bob Thornton Jim Metzler Michael Beach Earl Billings Natalie Canerday