One False Move
From its brutal beginning — a series of murders that make In Cold Blood look playful — to its extraordinarily moving ending, Carl Franklin’s highly original thriller is coiled tight, ready to snap and draw blood. Franklin imbues the story of two fugitive sociopathic killers (Billy Bob Thornton and Michael Beach) and their coked-up woman friend (Cynda Williams) with a clammy atmosphere where there’s no letup in dread. Yet nothing’s sensationalized here: The human element — particularly the sheriff of a small Arkansas town (Bill Paxton) — is strong enough to keep any viewer immobile.
With an almost aborted theatrical release, One False Move was rescued at the last minute by enthusiastic critics and a New York art house and became a movie-buff hit that’s still performing at the box office. On video, Franklin’s oversize talent should finally get the mainstream exposure it deserves. The movie’s near-documentary feel makes it all the eerier; it’s a nightmare reported. A-