• Warning: Spoilers
    A gunshot fires in the silence of an otherwise tranquil Mississippi night near a scenic lake. A young, eloping couple parked nearby hear it, and moments later two additional gunshots are heard as an ominous moon soars above. Thus begins Miles Doleac's second feature film, THE HOLLOW.

    Except it really began ten minutes prior, when corrupt deputy Ray Everett (Miles Doleac) points the couple in the direction of that locale, largely because of nostalgic reasons of his own. He has no idea that the young lady in the eloping vehicle is the daughter of a Congressman. Throw in the fact that Everett also facilitates drug transactions in Cutler County, with the Sheriff (William Sadler) required to look the other way, as the town is really run by powerful attorney "Big John" Dawson (William Forsythe).

    On the scene is disgraced and alcoholic FBI agent Vaughn Killinger (James Callis) and his partner Sarah Desoto (Christiane Seidel), who is also his go-to lover while battling his ex-wife for visitation rights regarding his young son. Killinger's inner struggle threatens to compromise his work on the case, if only Sarah can keep bailing his bacon out. A key sequence in a bar in the nearby "wet county" shows just how reckless Killinger is willing to be, for all the wrong reasons.

    The cinematography is fantastic. Run-down Mississippi looks both rustic and regal. Local talent actors are also impressive, particularly Joseph VanZandt as the sheriff's son, also a deputy, and unwilling accomplice in Everett's drug-running operation. He serves as the heart of a group of damaged souls. Jeff Fahey turns in a wonderful cameo as Everett's regret-riddled father, whose one scene reminds us of both the frailties and redemption qualities of humankind.

    Doleac, whose 2014 feature film THE HISTORIAN received well-deserved accolades, ups the ante here in a huge way. THE HOLLOW takes its 128-minute running time and fills it with exposition and character development, plus enough action to keep it from being a mere character drama. It is a fine and satisfying crime drama with even a few thrilling moments.

    For family viewing, be advised: it does contain strong language, some violence and sexual content.