Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 1993. Mirage Enterprises, Spring Creek Productions. Screenplay by Steve Kloves. Cinematography by Philippe Rousselot. Produced by Mark Rosenberg, Paula Weinstein. Music by Thomas Newman. Production Design by Jon Hutman. Costume Design by Elizabeth McBride. Film Editing by Mia Goldman.
Dennis Quaid is mesmerizing as a nomadic cowboy who goes from town to town working his vending machines until he happens upon a free-spirited woman (an excellent Meg Ryan) with a mysterious past. He has no idea that this stranger is about to unleash a flood of skeletons from the family closet that force him to deal with unresolved issues involving his criminal father (James Caan). Gwyneth Paltrow, in her first major role, is a stunner as the petty thief who helps round off the odd little quartet. As in Kloves’s previous film, The Fabulous Baker Boys, the emphasis is on atmosphere (this time the flatlands of the American south) and fully fleshed out characters given life through top-rate performances. You can see Kloves, who was clearly inspired by In Cold Blood, compromised nothing in this film and it’s very rewarding to watch for the patient viewer who demands a little more from their moviegoing experience. Were it made four years later when the independent film movement was in full swing, it would definitely be better remembered than it is now. As it is, it’s a treasure waiting to be rediscovered.