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"The World Made Straight" Movie Review


the World made straight
Photo courtesy of Millennium Entertainment

"The World Made Straight" (2014)

Travis (Jeremy Irvine) lives in North Carolina, up in the Appalachian Mountains. He works a dead-end job at a local grocery store and still lives with his abusive father and his subservient wife. Travis doesn't see much of a future in this area and dreams of someday getting out. Travis is haunted by a past that he doesn't know much about. There was a massacre of Union sympathizers by Confederate soldiers during the Civil War, and their ghosts seem to inhabit their present-day relatives.

To make extra money, Travis starts robbing local marijuana fields and selling the weed to a small-time drug dealer, Leonard (Noah Wyle).Travis makes a mistake, robbing the fields of Carlton (Steve Earle), who sets an animal trap that clamps down on his leg. After telling Travis that he will kill him if he ever steals from him again, Carlton dumps Travis in the parking lot of the local hospital. Though badly injured, things get better when he meets a young nurse, Lori (Adelaide Clemens). Travis's fortunes look up when Lori agrees to go out with him, and he gets taken in by Leonard. Leonard decides to make Travis his project, encouraging him to get his GED and read more about his family's involvement with the Civil War. There is a problem in this arrangement. Dena (Minka Kelly), Leonard's drug addict girlfriend, is a person loves to stir things up any way she can, and she has her sights set on Travis.

the World made straight2
Photo courtesy of Millennium Entertainment

Written by Shane Danielsen and based on the novel by Ron Rash is an interesting film about people who can't escape their past, whether it's the past of your ancestors or the past of your own life. It's a world where your dreams are broken before they get even started. Directed by David Burris, the film seems to have a haze hanging over it as if the sins of the past are ever-present. Brurris does a fine job creating this atmosphere, either by showing black-and-white flashback scenes of the Civil War massacre or by showing the run down everyday life of the present population. Danielsen's script does a great of building the tension in the film. We know something bad is going to happen. We just don't know when that will be or how horrible it will turn out.

the World made straight3
Photo courtesy of Millennium Entertainment

Noah Wyle is enjoyable as the knowledgeable Leonard, who seems like someone who doesn't belong in this setting. Wyle creates a character that contains a deep dark secret that is somehow torturing him with memories at every turn. Minka Kelly, playing the drugged out girlfriend of Leonard gives an ordinary performance, probably the weakest of the cast. Jeremy Irvine is perfect as Leonard, a bad boy whom you truly want to root for. He has great chemistry on screen with Wyle, making their scenes some of the best of the film.

It's Steve Earle as the bad guy, drug lord Carlton that steals this movie. He dominates every scene he is in with a menacing style that just seems to ripple about him on the screen. His scenes with Irvine are terrifying, effectively playing a man that is bad to the core. Earle, a singer/songwriter in real life, sings a haunting ballad in the film that will bring out the goose bumps.

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Photo courtesy of Millennium Entertainment

Cinematography by Tim Orr sets the scenes with an almost grimy look to the film. It's a dark, dirty world that the characters live in, and Orr sets the scenes that convey that. The score by Jasmine Flott and Dawn Sutter Madell is the perfect blend of Appalachian folk music and country tunes, creating tension in the scenes at just the right moments.

"The World Made Straight" is a complex film that tackles a gritty and desperate place that is locked into its dark past. A film made all the better by a great performance by Steve Earle.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee  

My movie rating system from Best to Worst:  1). I Would Pay to See it Again  2). Full Price  3). Bargain Matinee  4). Cable  5). You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again

"The World Made Straight" is playing exclusively in Atlanta, GA at AMC Southlake 24

"The World Made Straight" Facebook page


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