Wednesday 11 March 2020

Movie Review: The Hollow Point (2016)

A crime thriller with occasional dollops of gore, The Hollow Point is visually inviting but offers a baffling jumble of poorly executed ideas.

Prodigal son Wallace (Patrick Wilson) is appointed Sheriff of his rural Arizona hometown, located on the Mexico border. He replaces the grizzled and hard drinking Leland (Ian McShane), who is growing increasingly disillusioned and has just killed an ammunition smuggler after a violent struggle. Wallace reconnects with his ex-lover Marla (Lynn Collins), whose current boyfriend Ken has gone missing after killing a cartel member and helping himself to some cash

Wallace goes looking for Ken and soon tangles with corrupt used car dealer Shep Diaz (Jim Belushi), who appears to be profiting from the illegal ammunition trade. But much worse is to come in the form of ruthless and mysterious murderer Atticus (John Leguizamo), who is working his way through a kill list.

A good cast, impressive rural and remote landscapes and stylish cinematography cannot save The Hollow Point. The script is muddled beyond redemption, and in the absence of wit, depth and soul, the ambitions to recreate a No Country For Old Men vibe fall well short.

The story by Nils Lyew appears to have been haphazardly reassembled after going through the business end of a shredder, with key characters and events popping in and out of the story in random disorder. Director Gonzalo López-Gallego ploughs ahead, oblivious to the incomprehensible mess on his hands. What starts out as cross-border ammunition smuggling thriller morphs into a pseudo-horror indestructible killer drama without breaking stride. Intended victims routinely survive close-quarters gunshots with minimal scratches and no explanations.

And with no prior or subsequent context, one scene appears intent on infusing twisted religious demagoguery as the root of all evil. A clunky romance between Wallace and Marla never registers, and John Leguizamo is horribly miscast as a ruthless machete wielding killing machine.

Only Ian McShane stands above the carnage, his emotionally drained and craggy presence an order of magnitude better than the material around him. Otherwise, The Hollow Point is hollow but pointless.

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