×

Killer Diller

Writer-director Tricia Brock springs a few pleasant surprises while tilling familiar ground in "Killer Diller," her promising debut feature about a guitar-playing car thief who transforms a spiritless gospel group into a kick-ass blues band. Indie comedy-drama could click in limited theatrical run, but will play better as cable and homevid fare.

With:
With: William Lee Scott, Lucas Black, Fred Willard, John Michael Higgins, W. Earl Brown, Robert Wisdom, Ashley Johnson, Niki J. Crawford, Mary Kay Place, Taj Mahal.

Writer-director Tricia Brock springs a few pleasant surprises while tilling familiar ground in “Killer Diller,” her promising debut feature about a guitar-playing car thief who transforms a spiritless gospel group into a kick-ass blues band. Indie comedy-drama could click in limited theatrical run, but will play better as cable and homevid fare.

Twentysomething Wesley Benfield (William Lee Scott) is busted during a bar fight in small-town Missouri and then found to be driving a stolen car. He’s sent to a halfway house on a Baptist college campus. Supposed to reform himself while performing with a gospel ensemble, Wesley yearns to play the blues. He meets Vernon Jackson (Lucas Black), an autistic who’s a prodigious pianist, and, with his help, Wesley inspires fellow halfway house gospel ensemble to slip away for blues concerts at a local honky-tonk. Premise is formulaic and execution is predictable, but Brock maintains a lively pace while eliciting first-rate work from thesps. W. Earl Brown (as Vernon’s crude yet loving father) and Fred Willard (as halfway house supervisor) are standouts for transforming potentially cartoonish stereotypes into flesh-and-blood human beings. Performances by gospel/blues musicians are persuasively rough-edged.

Killer Diller

Production: A Bulwark Entertainment production. Produced by Jason Clark, Steve Espinosa, Cary McNair. Directed, written by Tricia Brock, based on the novel by Clyde Edgerton.

Crew: Camera (FotoKem color), Matthew Jensen; editor, Tom McArdle; music, Tree Adams, production designer, Ben Woolverton. Reviewed at South by Southwest Film Festival (Special Screenings), Austin, Texas, March 16, 2004. Running time: 95 MIN.

With: With: William Lee Scott, Lucas Black, Fred Willard, John Michael Higgins, W. Earl Brown, Robert Wisdom, Ashley Johnson, Niki J. Crawford, Mary Kay Place, Taj Mahal.

More Film

  • Rosie Day, Harriet Sanson Harris, Natalia

    Rosie Day, Harriet Sanson Harris, Natalia Tena Set For Juanma Bajo Ulloa’s Thriller ‘Baby’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    CANNES– Rosie Day (“Outlander”), Harriet Sanson Harris (“Phantom Thread”) and Natalia Tena (“Game of Thrones”) will star in Spaniard Juanma Bajo Ulloa’s psychological thriller “Baby,” Variety has learned exclusively. The project will be pitched on May 19 at Fantastic 7, a new Cannes initiative seeing seven of the world’s most prestigious fantastic festivals back and [...]

  • Polish Fest’s Industry Event Presents Upcoming

    New Horizons’ Polish Days Goes to Cannes With Five Films in Progress

    CANNES  —  Buoyed by a wave of international successes, including Pawel Pawlikowski’s 2019 foreign-language Oscar nominee “Cold War,” Polish cinema will get a fitting showcase Sunday morning with the presentation of five new projects at New Horizons’ Polish Days Goes to Cannes. Organized in conjunction with the Polish Film Institute, Polish Days is the most important [...]

  • Cannes, Annecy Animation Day Hosts ‘Bob

    Coala to Pitch ‘Bob Spit: We Do Not Like People’ at Cannes, Annecy Animation Day

    São Paulo-based Coala Filmes impressed in the series competition at last year’s Annecy Intl. Film Festival with an episode of their popular stop-motion series “Angeli the Killer,” based on the famous comics of the Brazilian comic-book writer of the same name. This year, the film’s director Cesar Cabral and producer Ivan Melo are participating in [...]

  • Russian Oligarch Roman Abramovich’s $100 Million

    Russian Oligarch Roman Abramovich’s $100 Million Film Fund Launches

    CANNES  —  Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich’s $100 million private film fund Kinoprime is ready for business, the fund’s CEO, Anton Malyshev, said in Cannes this week. Financed to the tune of $100 million over the next three years, the fund can provide up to 50% of a film’s production budget, with a $2 million cap [...]

  • Russian Helmer of Blockbuster ‘Stalingrad’ Looks

    Russia’s Fedor Bondarchuk Unveils Four New Films in Cannes

    CANNES  —  Russian director Fedor Bondarchuk introduced four new productions from his Art Pictures Studio Saturday in Cannes, including “Attraction 2,” the sequel to his 2017 sci-fi blockbuster. The invitation-only showcase at the Gray d’Albion hotel also unveiled footage from three new features that Bondarchuk is either directing or producing. Sci-fi thriller “Sputnik” is the story [...]

  • "The Whistlers" Review: The Romanian New

    Cannes Film Review: 'The Whistlers'

    With all due respect to Lauren Bacall, there’s always been a bit more to whistling than putting your lips together and blowing. Certainly for Cristi (Vlad Ivanov), the corrupt Bucharest policeman embroiled in a comically complex plot to get a local gangster off the hook in Corneliu Porumboiu’s Cannes competition title “The Whistlers,” it is [...]

  • 'Vivarium' Review: Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen

    Cannes Film Review: 'Vivarium'

    Ah, the suburbs. The rec rooms and Formica kitchens and manicured lawns. The cozy suffocating middle-class conformity. The way they once stood for everything that was worth rebelling against. For decades, the suburbs have been the ultimate cheap-shot movie punchline — not just a location but a state of mind, a place to thumb our [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content