Scenes of grimly realistic drug-related slayings set a nihilistic tone at the outset of One False Move, which shocks but grows progressively more involving.
Offbeat scenario features an attractive young woman (Cynda Williams), who’s escaped from rural Arkansas but fallen into very bad company in LA. Her b.f. (Billy Bob Thornton) and his accomplice (Michael Beach), both vicious killers, are after a big cache of cash and cocaine.
They hit the road for Houston, where they plan to offload the drugs on a dealer. Also on the itinerary is a promised trip to small-town Arkansas to visit the baby Williams left behind.
Working for the most part in straightforward style, director Carl Franklin achieves considerable suspense by pitting the frailties of each party against the other.
Director, veteran of three Roger Corman films and a recent American Film Institute grad, allows the characters time to unfold in ways that considerably deepen story interest. Despite time and budget constraints in the approximately $2 million shoot, the pic in its finer passages has qualities many studio pix would covet.