dir Antonio Negret
scr Michael Gilvary
prd Moshe Diamant, Courtney Solomon
with Jim Caviezel, Elisabeth Rohm, James Frain, Harold Perrineau, Ryan Donowho, Diora Baird, Sterling Knight, Jake Cherry, Griff Furst, JD Evermore, Rob Boltin, Douglas M Griffin
release UK 20.Apr.12, US 11.May.12
12/US 1h24
At each others' throats: Frain and Caviezel

rohm perrineau donowho
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Transit Infused with a B-movie vibe, this fast-paced, choppily edited thriller doesn't waste any time on character complexity or plot development, just putting an innocent, albeit troubled, family in harm's way. But its increasingly preposterous narrative and hysterically over-violent action makes it something of a guilty pleasure.

Ex-con Nate (Caviezel) is trying to reconnect with his wife Robyn (Rohm) and sons (Knight and Cherry) on a camping trip in Louisiana. But their paths cross with a gang of armoured-car thieves (Frain, Perrineau, Downho and Baird), who hide their stash in the family's camping gear. Getting it back is trickier than they expect, especially after Nate has a run-in with the law in a backwoods Louisiana town, and Robyn leaves him to fend for himself. And the gang doesn't care who they kill to get their cash.

Everyone in this film is a mess, from Nate and Robyn's dysfunctional marriage to the bickering gang. So like crocodiles lurking in the bayous, danger threatens from every side. And no one has all the information, which leaves them rather vulnerable. The script piles on the melodramatic wrinkles, as each character shows his or her own feisty spirit in the face of danger. But it stays so resolutely simplistic that we don't believe a minute of it.

Director Negret shoots and edits it like a vintage exploitation film, with menacing glances, overwrought gunplay and gratuitous grisliness. Camerawork is close and intrusive, often drenched in shadows while Negret wallows in the messy, hyper-violent desperation of the outlaws, who are so disorganised that it's hard to believe they actually robbed an armoured truck. And being one of those blunt, basic movies, the filmmakers don't waste time letting the characters do anything remotely rational.

The escalating mayhem is so brutal that it becomes almost comical. The cast makes the most of the illogical carnage, even if the villains are relentlessly one-note; they're vicious for viciousness' sake, so it's no surprise when they turn on each other. And then there's the fact that Caviezel's Nate is rather too tenacious for a white-collar criminal. He and Robyn are suspiciously at home with massive automatic weapons in their hands. But then, they are from Texas.

cert 15 themes, language, strong violence 14.Apr.12

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