They "cut" such a good trailer that I didn't "bank" on something so utterly generic.
That pun was more clever than most of CUT BANK, which tries desperately to be (not to RESEMBLE, mind you, but actually BE) an early Coen Brothers movie (even if its Americana was actually filmed in Canada).
Cut Bank, Montana, "the coldest point in America" is in a summer doldrum, and young Dwayne (Liam Hemsworth) is desperate to break away from his own personal small-town hell of dealing with his invalid father... he wants to escape with his girlfriend Cassandra (Teresa Palmer). What luck that he just happens to get a video recording of the town mailman (Bruce Dern) being gunned down in cold blood. Such video evidence of the murder of a postal official is supposed to net Dwayne a cool hundred grand.
Except, of course, the whole thing's a scam. And the postal inspector (Oliver Platt) has to see the actual body of the mailman for proof. And Dwayne's boss (Billy Bob Thornton) suddenly needs to make use of the work site where Dern's hiding. And best of all, the mail goes missing when a stuttering, reclusive, violent taxidermist (Michael Stuhlbarg) is counting on receiving a special p-p-parcel.
Really. Another reclusive, homicidal TAXIDERMIST just HAPPENS to get involved in this plot. At least his initials aren't "N.B." Still, Stuhlbarg's one of the best things in CUT BANK, which is all about the down-home townsfolk dealing with violent events not normally part of their experience. Yes--it's FARGO, but with none of the genuine charm, urgency or (most of all) inspiration of the latter. Sheriff John Malkovich has never seen murder before and it turns his stomach (but fails to raise his voice). Platt's big-city postal inspector dresses like an FBI agent and praises the local cuisine from the steak to the peach cobbler until you're just begging him to wax eloquent about a damn fine cup of coffee. And they keep using the "I thought you were dead" line on the nutjob. Perhaps the makers are right that most of their viewers won't have seen ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, but the running gag merely builds up to a lame punchline (which was obviously written first). And there's a "Miss Cut Bank" pageant that the innocent Cassandra hopes to win... oh, why do I bother?
That's the problem. The whole movie is like that. It has its moments (Bruce Dern's confrontation with Mr. Wackypants stands out), but I can't help but feel that director Matt Shakman and writer Roberto Patino could have come up with a terrific scam thriller without the truly desperate introduction of the stuttering psychopath who exists to put the lie to the whole false picture of Norman Rockwell charm (and ends up being more interesting than anybody else in the entire film).
The credits roll as a "heard one, heard em all" Hank Williams, Jr. title ballad plays... his happy life with the heavenly girl of his dreams was ruined by violence and heartbreak when that bad old man with the gun done showed up. Yeah. It's right at home in CUT BANK.
As in not off. If you want to post about mainstream flicks, this is the forum.
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