21 June 2014 | Red-Barracuda
Well acted neo-noir with several impressive newcomers
This film is an example of that very specific sub-genre, the Texas neo-noir. That American state seems to have all the right ingredients for modern noir, with its sun-baked, dusty, dead-end towns, restless people in them trying to get out of them and places seemingly so remote that the law is run by its own set of rules. We Gotta Get Out of This Place is certainly a movie that exists in the twilight world of this sub-genre. Its story revolves around three young people caught up in a situation. Bobby and Sue plan to leave for good to go to college, while B.J. chooses the faster route of crime. He steals money from a local thug and all three of them pay the price for his actions. They are coerced into stealing money from an even bigger gangster putting themselves in grave danger in the process.
This product of the American indie scene is typified by a fine script. It's helped even further by being acted out by a talented cast of actors. A couple have some pedigree but the three kids are all impressive newcomers. The name actors are Mark Pellegrino, whom I remember from being the bungling hit-man from Mulholland Drive (2001), in this picture he's still a violent criminal but a good deal more threatening; we also have veteran William Devane, star of several 70's classics like Marathon Man (1976), who here has no more than a cameo role. But its arguably the three younger actors who make the most impact, namely Mackenzie Davis as Sue, Logan Huffman as the reckless B.J. and finally the young Chris Penn lookalike Jeremy Allen White as the dim-witted but good natured Bobby. The strengths of this film lie predominantly with the dialogue and performances, both of which are impressive. The cinematography is often fine too with some dusky shots of wind turbine landscapes being particularly standout, while the moody score put me in mind of the one used in Blood Simple (1984) and any comparison to that masterpiece of the Texas neo-noir sub-genre is of course a very good thing. The story itself is maybe a little over-familiar for those who have seen their share of neo-noirs and it doesn't necessarily pan out into anything too unexpected by the end. Still, that doesn't change the fact that this is still well worth your time and is a quality product overall.