#TIFF14: “CUT BANK”
Review by David Baldwin for Mr. Will Wong
While filming an Audition Tape outside of the titular Cut Bank, Montana, Dwayne (Liam Hemsworth) and Cassandra (Teresa Palmer) inadvertently witness a murder. Dwayne shows the tape to Sheriff Vogel (John Malkovich) and await the next move – which may include a $100,000 reward. But circumstances change quickly, and Dwayne quickly realizes he may be in a little over his head.
Cut Bank has an intriguing set-up, but after a few fun twists and turns, it quickly becomes silly and borderline ridiculous. The shifting tone mimics and cribs from the best and worst of The Coen Brothers Filmography, specifically No Country for Old Men, doing it no favours in the process.
Malkovich and Billy Bob Thornton give the Project some prestige, but turn in uncharacteristic low-key Performances that lack the spark of either of their previous Works. Hemsworth and Palmer are sparingly good, yet it is Bruce Dern, fresh from his Best Actor Oscar-nomination, who has a total blast with his Character. The Film could have used more of his energy. Even better is Michael Stuhlbarg as the deliriously demented Derby Milton. He is a mysterious Character, with one-note motivations, but the level of intensity he brings is downright terrifying. It is definitely one of the most memorable on-screen Characters I’ve seen all year.
CUT BANK screens Wednesday September 10, 2014 5 PM at Scotiabank 4 and Thursday September 11, 2014 10 PM at Scotiabank 2.