19 November 2016 | dougdoepke
Effective Elements, Unevenly Combined
Note the lengthy action hook at the beginning. But once Vanner (Ayers) links up with Ellen (Wright)-- wife of the man Vanner killed under cloudy circumstances-- the movie bogs down into character study, before an action-laden climax. It's an interesting if uneven film using rocky LA area locations to unsettling effect.
So is the man Vanner's killed in a shoot-out, really a payroll robber or not. Racked by uncertainty, Vanner travels incognito to the widow's farm to work there and, in the process, find out more about her dead husband. But will she find out who he really is and what he's done. The premise here is a compelling one. Too bad it soon bogs down.
I suspect the family oriented middle part was aimed at giving Ayers and Wright a chance to again show their acting chops. Which they do, but detrimentally to the pacing. The script also contains several creative ironies, particularly the wounded arm that helps Vanner expiate his guilt feelings. Looks like Victor Jory's unexpectedly brief appearance was a marquee helping payday. Anyway, no film with the rotund Barry Kelley can afford to be passed up. All in all, it's an interesting, if flawed, black-and-whiter, with an unusual final frame. Too bad the effective elements are not more tightly combined.