Monday, October 3, 2016

The World Made Straight (2015)

Number Rolled: 35
Movie Name/Year: The World Made Straight (2015)
Tagline: For blood. For money. For a way out.
Genre: Drama
Length: 119 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: Bifrost Pictures, Dreambridge Films, Myriad Pictures
Producer: Robert Ogden Barnum, David Betsill, David Burris, Brad Coolidge, Melissa Coolidge, Kirk D’Amico, Matt Garretson, Blair Hahn, Victor Ho, Eric Hollenbeck, Todd J. Labarowski, Katie Mustard, Warren Ostergard, Brian Quattrini, Bill Wagenseller, Daniel Wagner, Michael Wrenn
Director: David Burris
Writer: Shane Danielsen, Ron Rash
Actors: Noah Wyle, Jeremy Irvine, Minka Kelly, Adelaide Clemens, Steve Earle, Haley Joel Osment, Marcus Hester, Colin Dennard, Alex Van, Robin Mullins, Frances Burnett, Robert Haulbrook, Sandra Ellis Lafferty, Ryan Taylor Harris

Blurb from Netflix: A young man in Appalachia finds himself caught between vengeful pot farmers, a violent legacy from the Civil War and his own unpredictable future.

Selina’s Point of View:
There is simply nothing more boring to me than a straight drama film. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what The World Made Straight was.

The worst part about this film being boring is that looking away from the screen, or letting your mind wander, for even a minute means having to rewind in order to figure out what the fuck you missed. After a moment of wandering mind syndrome, nothing makes sense anymore. You HAVE to concentrate on every word or you’ll get lost. I started over once and had to rewind twice.

I don’t mind a smart film. Sometimes, a movie that makes me think is exactly what I’m looking for. Those films can be inspirational, educational, and incredibly surprising. However, when a film is both boring and the kind that makes me think, I stop caring real quick.

I want to clarify that the problem was not the story itself.

The World Made Straight is based on a book. I’m willing to bet that book is an incredible read (despite the credit given to Hemmingway in one scene that made me roll my eyes because I HATE his style of writing).

The story was amazing in general. I may very well pick up the book. I suspect it will explain some things that the movie failed to really clarify as well as offer a much more entertaining version of the plot. Plus, it won’t suffer from death scenes starring actors that don’t play a believable death.

Despite some big issues I had with the acting quality bringing down the entertainment value of the film, the main three actors were not at fault. Noah Wyle (The Librarians, Falling Skies, ER), Jeremy Irvine (Now is Good, Life Bites, Great Expectations), and Minka Kelly (Papa Hemingway in Cuba, Almost Human, The Roommate) were all incredibly believable and might have even pulled the film out of the abyss for me if they weren’t surrounded by performances as convincing as Santa Claus in a tutu wearing Easter bunny ears and lighting a menorah.

I’d give the film a lower score, but I truly believe the story is going to stick with me for a long time.

Cat’s Point of View:
Netflix called this movie understated.  I’d have to agree.

There are some places where the battles of the past linger on in the present. It’s not just Hatfields and McCoys that have enmity that runs deep. Though, they’re likely the first to come to mind when you think of a feud in Appalachia. This isn’t a tale of mass-scale feuding. The concept is an undercurrent that threads through the film and gives it a bit of a sense of weight behind the personal dramas taking place.

This visualization of a novel is a layered redemption tale. It’s a bit on the cerebral side, though, coming in just short of being a history class.

Of course, before there was McDreamy on the television hospital drama scene; Noah Wyle (Snake & Mongoose, W., Queen of the Lot) made his mark as the hot doctor back in the day. He hasn’t lost a bit of that charm. I appreciated the subtle irony involved with his character – both in that connection and in the story.

I was most impressed with Jeremy Irvine (The Railway Man, A Night in Old Mexico, Stonewall). His performance was visceral as his character navigated the changes in his life.

There really weren’t any cast members that didn’t fully inhabit their roles believably. Minka Kelly’s (The Kingdom, Friday Night Lights, Lee Daniels' The Butler) character was an unexpected element that helped catalyst moments of the story. Steve Earle (Leaves of Grass, Treme, Dixieland) was extremely creepy beyond his character’s visage – not just because of his demeanor but in his intelligence.

This film was definitely at a slower pace than a lot of what we’ve watched lately. There’s a lot of water imagery here, as well. Rivers cut their way through the landscape over the ages, and this movie makes broad strokes of emotion over its course – but not fast or flashy. There wasn’t any white-water rafting going on here – literally or figuratively.

I think that the story needed to be paced as if it were a bit of a southern drawl; but at the same time it might have been too slow. It was hard for me to keep my interest in some places. If there had been a slightly better balance with that, I would have been able to give it a higher rating.

Anyone whom enjoys a drama where history meets the present without being an actual period piece might enjoy this movie. Fans of Lifetime Channel level drama intensity would probably also like this movie. I can’t say that I’d watch it again, though.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 63%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 46%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 3.5/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score2.5/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 3.5/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score3/5

P.S. Based on a book with the same name, written by Ron Rash.

Movie Trailer:

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