Reviewed at the Santa Barbara Film Festival, March 6, 1993. Running time: 95 min.
Ray … Matthew Blomquist
Sarah … Andrea Damesyn
Ramon … Henrique Vargas
Scott … Stephen Bramfitt
Candy … Jill Burns
SANTA BARBARA — An impenetrable narrative, wooden performances and uninspired direction strangle “The Hanged Man,” the feature debut of San Francisco State film graduate Thomas Claburn, who also produced and wrote the screenplay. Even at 95 minutes it’s a tough sit and appears to have little commercial potential.
The germ of the story is intriguing, if more than a bit derivative. A prosperous young couple with a disintegrating marriage accidentally run over a young drifter. The mysterious young Latino is gradually integrated into their lives, which eventually leads to a dramatic climax during which everyone’s dirty secrets are revealed.
There’s also a dark twist at the end. Unfortunately, by then the audience has long ago ceased to care.
The actors are not without talent but get no help from Claburn, either as a director or writer.
Matthew Blomquist, who bears more than a passing resemblance to Tom Hanks, does what he can with his role as a paranoid, racist yuppie. Andrea Damesyn and Henrique Vargas try to breathe some life into their respective parts as the wife and the wandering aspiring novelist.
Kathleen Beeler’s cinematography is not unpleasant to look at, but the camera placement is often jarring. Richard Malerba’s production design makes the most of what was obviously a meager budget. It at least has personality, if a rather bizarre one.