This is a strange film. I suppose I should have expected that from the director though shouldn’t I?
We open with two criminal-types, drifting across America, leaving a trail of casual violence behind them. And, if I hadn’t seen the trailers, I might have thought that these two were the main “baddies” of the film. But although their dead-eyed gaze might be enough to stare down the school’s bully, they pick the wrong diner to rob when they head into Stall’s late one night. This is where the story takes off, although the pace is still quite measured.
Tom Stall, married with children, turns into a hero as he deals, quite effectively, with the two gun men. He himself ends up in hospital, but neither of the robbers will have any cause to see a doctor again. Tom, as a hero, gets his face plastered all over the news, and so results in strange mobsters from the East coast turning up.
We never really doubt that Tom has a past, but the film takes its time to get to the truth. And it does so through graphic violence, and sex. I can see why it got its 18’s cert here.
I suppose you could argue that this film raises questions about violence, and change, and well, a lot of things. In a way it is an old western film, where a good man has to take up arms and fight for his life. But then again, is Tom a good man?