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Cut Bank
Genre Thriller

Cut Bank is one of those small town ensemble crime thrillers you'd expect to be set in a snowy North American Winter. Although that would probably make it a bit too similar to films like A Simple Plan, Fargo, The Big White and Thin Ice.

We're introduced to a low key "heist" scenario where Dwayne, a small town dreamer, tries to siphon reward money from the U.S. post office when he inadvertently finds himself in possession of footage relating to a postal worker's murder. It's a curious premise, one that is driven by several characters and their various agendas as a bag of missing mail causes havoc in the town of Cut Bank.

The title may be a bit vague, but you won't have any trouble recognising the name cast with screen veterans like Billy Bob Thorton, John Malkovich, Oliver Platt and Bruce Dern. They portray a wonderful array of characters in this backwater thriller, contributing another layer of class and star quality.

The Hollywood "furniture" is reliable, but mostly there to pad the up-and-coming stars, Liam Hemsworth and Teresa Palmer. Liam Hemsworth, brother to Chris Hemsworth of Thor fame, is yet to prove himself despite being part of some big productions. While he's adequate, you can understand why they felt they needed an insurance policy in the old big hitters.

Teresa Palmer is also Australian, which gives the on-screen couple a more comfortable fit. While she's more of a support than a co-lead, she captures the essence of a Miss Cut Bank contender with her own dream playing out with echoes of Donnie Darko.

While there isn't any snow, Cut Bank has a cold and gloomy atmosphere and relies on familiar genre trappings to get going after a slow start. It's mostly interesting thanks to the oddball characters and their offbeat performances as it moves from being a corporate "heist" movie into something more sinister.

Michael Stuhlbarg is the spanner in the works with an understated performance like a blend of No Country for Old Men's Anton Chigurh and Office Space's Milton Waddams. He's an unassuming and unpredictable psycho with a curious background adding a dangerous and macabre element to Cut Bank.

While his role hijacks an otherwise simple story, it risks derailing the film for some, clocking up the suspense like a virus. This works as a shake up after a slow start, but it doesn't distract us enough from comparisons with the Coen brothers and other superior films in this genre. Cut Bank's stars and oddball characters keep us entertained, but it doesn't really command a space of its own.

The bottom line: Curious

6.00/10 ( 1 Vote )
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