One False Move (1992) / Thriller-Drama

MPAA Rated: R for strong violence and language, and for drug content
Running Time: 105 min.

Cast: Bill Paxton, Cynda Williams, Billy Bob Thornton, Michael Beach, Jim Metzler
Director: Carl Franklin
Screenplay: Billy Bob Thornton, Tom Epperson

Review published September 7, 1997

In Star City, Arkansas, a family is slaughtered along with a local drug dealer by a couple of unscrupulous thugs and a young woman (Williams, Mo Better Blues) who disagrees with their extremes but fears for her life. A couple of LAPD detectives arrive on the scene, which pleases the local police chief who is star-struck by the big city cops. Things become more complicated when feelings resurface between the woman and police chief from an event which happened over fours years before.

One False Move is an engrossing small budget crime noir picture with impressive debuts all around, specifically by writer-costar Billy Bob Thornton (Sling Blade, The Gift). The main cast is quite good in their respective roles, especially considering Paxton (Predator 2, Near Dark) is the only veteran actor in the lot.

Director Franklin (Devil in a Blue Dress, High Crimes) makes great use of a subdued score, and while he doesn't really handle the main shootout well, the dramatic scenes between the characters are very realistic and riveting, with a particularly disturbing scene of murders in the beginning. Who says you need a huge budget with superstars to make a good cop flick?

Qwipster's rating::

1998 Vince Leo