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Duvall, whose performances all seem to find a center of truth, is wonderful as Mr. Cox, a hard-drinking, longtime loser who nevertheless keeps on plugging and may even know something about oil. The movie may be worth seeing for his performance, but the story itself is disappointing; it seems to travel around the same track once too often, and when the payoff comes, it seems short-circuited.
See what you think. Without getting into the details, I can say that Big Dave tries to work his will with Cox. But when a big moment in the movie comes, and seems to set up a showdown between Dave, Cox and the poor farm family, something suddenly seems to be missing. Dave shows up, seems poised for a kill and then lamely disappears, and there is an unconvincing voiceover narration that tries to account for what happens. This feels like nothing more than a last-minute attempt to paper over a key scene that was either edited out of the movie or never shot.
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What happens, then, is that the film lays meticulous groundwork for a payoff that never takes place. The last 20 minutes, which should deliver a big emotional punch, simply do not work.
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Too bad. Duvall's work is fine and touching, and the scenes on the family farm with Quinn and Fisher have a simple authenticity. The movie was produced by Clint Eastwood's company, and displays Eastwood's lifelong interest in the images of backroads poverty in the s and '40s; one can even imagine him playing Mr. Cox, although Duvall's feverish optimism in the face of ruin would be hard to match. Maybe my guesses about the ending are all wrong, and there is no missing scene.
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But in a larger sense, the movie needs a more realized scene there, whether it was written or not. Films establish a certain rhythm and balance, and this one feels truncated. Cox, and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr Who do you read? There are no items in your wishlist. East Alabama Hill Country Music.
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