At first I thought I was enjoying this film and it did sound promising. Very firmly set in its environment of 1950’s small town west Texas America, the film offers some pleasantries such as period setting and dialogue, boosted by good acting, especially from Casey Affleck in the lead as a respectable, mild mannered deputy sheriff. At least, that’s what he and the film appear to be on the surface. Underneath, however, runs a powerfully dark undercurrent of violence and sadomasochism, reminding me a little of Blue Velvet. The film opens strikingly with Affleck’s character, Lou Ford, attempting to run a prostitute (Jessica Alba) out of town. He ends up belting her and then having hot blooded sex. As the film progresses, he develops a complex get-rich scheme involving revenge, lies, blackmail and savagely killing anyone close to him.
As good as the acting is, as brutal the violence and as dark as the depths some of the scenes reached, the film contained numerous flaws. It tried too hard to adopt the period 1950s film noir atmosphere, especially with an entirely rock ‘n’ roll soundtrack. Some events aren’t filmed well and left unexplained. The sex scenes are gratuitous, unrealistic and awkward. In short, the film tried too hard to be what it was, but failed to leave a lasting impression, apart from annoyance. The film had some promising elements but at the same time there was vast room for improvement. Also Affleck’s high pitched accent grew frustrating after a while!