DENNIS SCHWARTZ 
IS THERE ANY GOOD 
IN SAYING 
EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?

 
COASTLINES (director/writer: Victor Nunez; cinematographer: Virgil Marcus Mirano; editor: Victor Nunez; music: Charles Engstrom; cast: Timothy Olyphant (Sonny Mann), Josh Brolin (Dave Lockhart), Sarah Wynter (Ann Lockhart), Scott Wilson (Pa Mann), Angela Bettis (Effie Bender), Josh Lucas (Eddie Vance), William Forsythe (Fred Vance), Daniel von Bargen (Sheriff Tate), Robert Wisdom (Bob Johnson); Runtime: 110; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Jody Patton/Victor Nunez; IFC FirstTake; 2002)

 
"Disappointing low-key modern film noir."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Indie writer-director Victor Nunez ("Ulee's Gold"/"Ruby in Paradise") completes his "Panhandle Trilogy" of Florida-based films with this disappointing low-key modern film noir. It has twentysomething Sonny Mann (Timothy Olyphant) getting an early prison release after serving three years for drug running and returning home to live with his elderly father (Scott Wilson), who runs the local marina in a small town on Florida's gulf coast. Sonny reunites with his old hell-raiser friend, deputy sheriff Dave Lockhart (Josh Brolin), who married Sonny's former girlfriend, Ann (Sarah Wynter), a nurse, and now they have two daughters and lead a boring conventional life which suits him more than it does her. Then Sonny confronts the area's sleazy and crooked development guys, Fred Vance (William Forsythe) and his younger nephew Eddie Vance (Josh Lucas), who owe him $200,000 from a drug deal before his imprisonment. When the Vance's welsh on their debt and hire a hit man to take him out by bombing his house, it only injures Sonny but the explosion kills his father. For some unexplained reason the cautious local sheriff (Daniel von Bargen) doesn't investigate this murder. Meanwhile Sonny gets a job working as a body shop man with his garage friend Bob Johnson (Robert Wisdom) and schemes to get even with the Vances, hooks up with a beaten down good-time gal named Effie Bender (Angela Bettis) he knew from before and begins an affair with the bored Ann. 

It comes with an unearned sunny resolution and has no conviction in its simplistic story, no heart in its love triangle story and seems to be bracing to say something about these three lost soul characters but it never gets around to doing it. What it does best is leave you with a moody melancholic feeling for the booming swamp area. But the laid-back method acting style and the disturbing nature of the plot line never allow this pulp film to amount to much of a story. As a result, it fails to deliver a suspenseful story or one that can at least hold the viewer's interest. It tries to cover the same territory as the 1983 "Cutter's Way," but swims in shallower and murkier water.

REVIEWED ON 4/25/2008        GRADE: C+

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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