TIFF 2014: Cut Bank Review

Cut Bank

Contemporary World Cinema

Coming down somewhere between a late 90s Tarantino knock-off that has been pulled out of mothballs and a Coen Brothers homage that never should have been made in the first place, the bizarrely atonal and baffling small town crime thriller Cut Bank from first television director Matt Shakman fails at everything it tries to attempt despite boasting an all star cast.

Set in the titular Montana hamlet, the coldest place in the USA in winter but now in the middle of summer, a young auto mechanic (Liam Hemsworth) has accidentally filmed what appears to be the murder of a local postman (Bruce Dern), the first murder in the history of the community. Since he filmed the killing of a federal employee, the young man stands to earn a hefty reward from the government, enough to help move out of town with his girlfriend (Teresa Palmer).


But nothing is quite what it seems. The plot is easily unravelled and every possible shock is done away with in the opening 30 minutes. Shakman has a gorgeous eye for visuals, but no concept of pacing or logic. John Malkovich (as the sherriff), Billy Bob Thornton (as the chronically pissed dad of the girlfriend), Michael Stuhlbarg (as a recluse who REALLY wants his mail), and Oliver Platt (as a DC bagman sent to investigate and hand out the reward) all try to inject some fun into the material, but nothing anyone does makes a lick of sense. And Hemsworth is severely outclassed and thoroughly unbelievable in a role that requires him to do more than look good. He just isn’t a leading man.


Wednesday, September 10th, 5:00pm, Scotiabank 4

Thursday, September 11th, 10:00pm, Scotiabank 2


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