John Travolta gets top billing in this gritty crime flick which the press release describes as his “comeback thriller”.
It’s no Pulp Fiction but it’s definitely a much classier affair than any of his recent straight-to-streaming action movies.
While Travolta delivers an enjoyably understated performance as a small-town sheriff, Stephen Dorff gets a far juicier role as a creepy assassin.
If you’ve seen the Coen Brothers’ No Country For Old Men or the TV series True Detective (Dorff’s actual comeback thriller), you’ll know what to expect from first-time director Nicholas Maggio.
But some crunchy dialogue and very dark twists add surprises to a familiar set-up. In the lead role, Shiloh Fernandez plays struggling family man Shelby who is persuaded to take part in a robbery of a strip-mall drug store with his feckless brother-in-law (Kevin Dillon).
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Unsurprisingly, the job doesn’t go as smoothly as promised. After making off with a stash of pills and killing two guards, they discover the pharmacy is owned by the Mob.
That brings in Dorff’s enforcer Clayton, an unusual heavy who wears down his targets with philosophical musings about the meaninglessness of human existence.
To pay back his debt to the Mob, Shelby reluctantly agrees to work with Clayton in tidying up “loose ends”, as Travolta’s cop begins to circle.
Highlights include a darkly comic sequence in a gas station where Dorff invites (and almost lives up to) comparisons with Javier Bardem’s turn in the Coens’ Oscar winner.
Mob Land, Cert 15, In cinemas now
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