South of Heaven, West of Hell (2000)

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South of Heaven, West of Hell: Directed by Dwight Yoakam. With Dwight Yoakam, Vince Vaughn, Billy Bob Thornton, Bridget Fonda. A U.S. Marshal tracks a destructive clan of outlaws, while a government man claims that the Marshal is actually a ghost of his deceased self.

“I saw the movie a few days ago and, to be honest, when the final credits rolled I thought I had just watched a near miss film. I had a lot of hopes for Mr. Yoakamu0026#39;s writing, directorial, star debut because of the u0026quot;outside the boxu0026quot; psyche his career and approach to music express. I wasnu0026#39;t disappointed, exactly, perhaps stymied is a better word. Now, however, a few days after viewing the movie, I realize what a wonderfully different, engagingly off centered film it was. I keep thinking of the word u0026quot;rawu0026quot; in its many connotations. The movie has no hero but it has heroism. There are no great people but there is greatness. Itu0026#39;s a film of details, visual and story and the only actor in the film who didnu0026#39;t make me buy his character was Vince Vaughn although he redeemed himself in the last reels where it seemed he had finally connected with his bad guy alter ego. Dwight was straight on all the way through, drifting in out of left field like he always does and standing right next to you before you realize heu0026#39;s there. This ainu0026#39;t John Wayne or Clint Eastwood but youu0026#39;ll surprize yourself how much you expect it, how much you should have seen it coming and how relieved you are Dwight isnu0026#39;t the fastest gun in the west and good and evil laces itself through all the characters and story lines. Life doesnu0026#39;t run on a script and neither does this movie, itu0026#39;s lifeu0026#39;s accidents and miscalculated tosses of a stick of dynamite that propels our lives and this film. We stumble our way to our destiny, to our conclusion. It was also great to see all those familiar faces and Iu0026#39;m still utterly and intensely bamboozeled about who and what and why Billy Bob Thorton was about in this movie. Talk about a curio. For me, the movieu0026#39;s finest moment came a couple of days after I had seen it, when I began to realize the appeal of this breed of u0026quot;differentu0026quot;. I imagine Iu0026#39;ll buy this video and watch it again every couple of years or so. I know thereu0026#39;s a lot I missed but Iu0026#39;m going to enjoy, at my leisure and in repeat viewings, deciphering what Dwight Yoakam was doing here. Itu0026#39;s a very difficult film to recommend because even an open mind can fail to find substance to grab a hold. But once you watch it, you canu0026#39;t put it down. I really believe this will give Dwight Yoakam the foot in the door to take Yoakam films forward and Iu0026#39;m just as convinced heu0026#39;ll do something very interesting and of lasting significance in cinema sometime in the future. But South of Heaven, West of Hell, will be a stand alone piece forever. Watch the movie if youu0026#39;re into different, itu0026#39;s dreary real, hilarious, grimy, disgusting, moments of real brilliance and, though Iu0026#39;ve heard no one mention it, has moments of dead on minor level special effects. But I have a question for viewers; has anyone noticed that Dwight Yoakam in a hat and sans a hat are two completely different characters?”

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