Rushlights

Rushlights

***

Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Sarah (Haley Webb) is a recovering heroin addict stuck in a tedious waitressing job. Billy (Josh Henderson) is a smooth-talking juvenile delinquent who may have secrets of his own. A week after the hook up, Sarah's flatmate dies of an overdose. Both young women have that identikit bland Hollywood beauty, so Billy notes that Sarah could quite easily pass herself off as the dead woman. Why don't they go down south and claim the huge inheritance her uncle has mysteriously left for her? It sounds like a plan, so they hit the road, not thinking about details like the corpse they've left behind. They're sweet kids but they're not that bright.

As is the case with most films about inheritances, things turn out to be a little more complicated than our erstwhile anti-heroes expected. They've left their familiar urban jungle for Tennessee Williams territory where everybody has a dark secret and the Southern Gothic has been laid on with a trowel. The plot, as tangled as the vines that cling to their crumbling old mansion, produces double-crosses aplenty. Sarah, pursued by a dealer as vicious as he is lascivious, begins to sink back into old habits. Billy proves just a little too trigger-happy for her to be comfortable with, and he's hypocritical about it, too. Meanwhile, Aidan Quinn, who may remember a thing or two about switched identities from his Desperately Seeking Susan days, plays a lawyer with good reason to be suspicious, while Beau Bridges plays his brother, the overreaching arm of the law.

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It's a film riddled with clich├ęs but that's not altogether to its detriment. The story is competently told, the direction suits the mood, and the performances are convincing even if the characters aren't very deep. Crispian Belfrage clearly has a lot of fun hamming it up as the dealer, like a B-list version of Willem Dafoe's Wild At Heart psychopath. The leads manage some chemistry together even if they lack the charisma that the genre really calls for. Most importantly, it's an enjoyable film to watch, a satisfying choice of Friday night thriller. In that context, it doesn't really matter that we've seen so much of it before.

Despite its use of familiar strategies, however, the film doesn't always hang together. There are one or two worryingly large plot holes, there are places where the pacing slackens badly, and the ending is weak, falling into silliness where it should have been taut. Rushlights is an entertaining film, just not one that will give you much else.

Reviewed on: 23 Jul 2013
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Assuming the identity of a dead flatmate to claim her inheritance proves to be a dangerous game.

Director: Antoni Stutz

Writer: Antoni Stutz

Starring: Josh Henderson, Haley Webb, Beau Bridges, Aidan Quinn, Crispian Belfrage

Year: 2013

Runtime: 98 minutes

Country: US

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