×

Film Review: ‘The Hollow Point’

An over-the-top Ian McShane is the chief selling point for this formulaic neo-noir drama, which also stars Patrick Wilson.

With:
Patrick Wilson, Ian McShane, John Leguizamo, James Belushi, Lynn Collins.

Official Site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2918606/

With “The Hollow Point,” director Gonzalo López-Gallego and screenwriter Nils Lyew flash back to those not-so-thrilling days — specifically, the early- to mid-1990s — when Blockbuster store shelves were littered with direct-to-video neo-noirs in the same fatalistic vein. Almost every aspect of this violent yet dawdling indie, including the sound-alike redo of a late-career Johnny Cash recording used during the closing credits, seems generic and/or second-hand. Still, there are sporadic compensations for your investment of time: Ian McShane’s robust overplaying of an unapologetically scuzzy small-town lawman, John Leguizamo’s dead-serious villainy as a scarily resilient hit man, evocative lensing by David Jose Montero, and a few modestly inventive twists in the otherwise predictable plot.

The film takes place in an Arizona hamlet near the Mexico border where a few locals earn an off-the-books income by selling ammunition to a drug cartel. There’s a new sheriff in town, Wallace (Patrick Wilson), a straight-arrow prodigal son who returns to his old stomping grounds to replace Leland (Ian McShane), a beefy and boozy cynic with a reputation for shooting first and seldom asking questions later.

Wallace arrives just in time to get caught in the crossfire after an ammo delivery goes wrong. Because of their connection to a rash ne’er-do-well who ran off with a stash of drug cartel cash; Shepard (Jim Belushi), a sleazy used-car dealer; and Marla (Lynn Collins), Wallace’s incautious ex-wife, are on the kill list of the aforementioned hit man (Leguizamo). Wallace is determined to save at least one of those potential victims, and he doesn’t let a little thing like having his hand sliced off with a machete seriously impede his mission.

Wilson is persuasively resolute as the sheriff, and Belushi does sweaty desperation like a pro. But McShane effortlessly overshadows both of them — and everyone else in the cast — with a flamboyantly mannered performance charged by alternating currents of contemptuous sarcasm and pessimistic gruffness.

In between swigs from a very large bottle of whiskey, he runs the gamut from waxing philosophical (“It takes a willing hand to punish horrible men!”) to issuing florid insults (“You are not an unfortunate man, you are an auspicious parasite!”) when Leland isn’t offering dire warnings about the threat to his community posed by murderous “bogeymen.” Chief among the latter: Atticus, the relentless assassin effectively played by Leguizamo as only slightly less indestructible than Jason Voorhees.

Fairly early in the proceedings, “The Hollow Point” establishes itself as the sort of movie in which just about anyone might wind up on the wrong end of a gun, or a machete. As a result, some viewers may be reluctant to care about any character’s outcome. On the other hand, the final scene is hugely satisfying primarily because, at long last, the right person is killed by the right killer. That has to count for something.

Popular on Variety

Film Review: 'The Hollow Point'

Reviewed online, Houston, Dec. 15, 2016. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 97 MIN.

Production: A Vertical Entertainment release of an Atlas Independent Prods. production, in association with MICA Entertainment. Producers: William Green, Aaron Ginsburg, Andy Horwitz. Co-producer: Terry Leonard. Executive producers: Dale Armin Johnson, Glenn P. Murray, Julie B. May, Michael Ilitch Jr., Lewis P. Horwitz.

Crew: Director, editor: Gonzalo López-Gallego. Screenplay: Nils Lyew. Camera (color): Jose David Montero.

With: Patrick Wilson, Ian McShane, John Leguizamo, James Belushi, Lynn Collins.

More Film

  • Isabela Moner Dora the Explorer

    Film News Roundup: Isabela Merced Boards Jason Momoa's 'Sweet Girl' for Netflix

    In today’s film news roundup, Isabela Merced get cast opposite Jason Momoa, “Starbright” gets financing and AFM announces its speakers. CASTING Isabela Merced, formerly Isabela Moner, has come on board to portray the daughter of Jason Momoa in his upcoming revenge thriller “Sweet Girl” for Netflix. Momoa will play a devastated man who vows to [...]

  • Walt Disney HQ LA

    Disney Seeks to Throw Out Gender Pay Gap Lawsuit

    The Walt Disney Co. is seeking to throw out a lawsuit alleging that women employees are paid less than men, arguing that the suit is too sprawling and unwieldy to handle as a class action. Andrus Anderson LLP filed the suit in April, alleging that Disney’s hiring and pay practices have a discriminatory effect on [...]

  • Ford v Ferrari

    Christian Bale, Matt Damon to Campaign in Lead Actor Category for 'Ford v Ferrari'

    Christian Bale and Matt Damon will both campaign in the lead actor category for awards for their work in Fox’s upcoming “Ford v Ferrari,” Variety has learned. “Ford v Ferrari” follows an eccentric, determined team of American engineers and designers, led by automotive visionary Carroll Shelby (Damon) and his British driver, Ken Miles (Bale), who [...]

  • Tezuka's Barbara film

    Tokyo Film Festival: Makoto Tezuka Probes Past and Present in 'Barbara'

    The son of the late Osamu Tezuka, who is known as the “the god of manga” in Japan for his innovative and enduringly popular comics, Makoto Tezuka (also known as Macoto Tezka) long ago escaped his father’s looming shadow, carving out a career as a film and animation director. At the same time, he has [...]

  • Cuba Gooding Jr

    Cuba Gooding Jr. Sued for Allegedly Pinching Nightclub Server

    A Tao nightclub server who alleges that Cuba Gooding Jr., pinched her rear-end last year has sued the Oscar-winning actor for sexual battery. Natasha Ashworth had previously come forward to New York law enforcement, though her name had not been released publicly. Gooding was indicted last week on four misdemeanor counts, including two counts stemming [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content