Cut Bank (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Matt Shakman|
|Written by||Roberto Patino|
|Music by||James Newton Howard|
|Edited by||Carol Littleton|
Cut Bank is a 2014 American thriller film directed by Matt Shakman and written by Roberto Patino. The film stars Liam Hemsworth, Billy Bob Thornton, John Malkovich, Teresa Palmer and Michael Stuhlbarg. The film was selected to be screened in the Contemporary World Cinema section at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. The film was released in the United States on April 3, 2015, in a limited release and through video on demand by A24.
The film opens with reclusive taxidermist Derby Milton (Stuhlbarg) looking out a window at his mailbox. Local mail carrier Georgie Wits (Dern), gathers up items for his route, including a decorative lunchbox addressed to Milton. Meanwhile, in a rapeseed field, Dwayne McLaren (Hemsworth) and his girlfriend Cassandra Steeley (Palmer) film a promotional spot for Cut Bank in preparation for Cassandra's upcoming performance in a local beauty pageant. As Dwayne films Cassandra, Georgie's mail truck comes into view. Georgie gets out of the truck and is approached by a large man who shoots him. Dwayne and Cassandra hide while he continues to film the attack. The man fires a second shot into Georgie, picks up his body, and loads it into the mail truck.
Dwayne and Cassandra report what happened to her father Stan (Thornton). Sheriff Vogel (Malkovich) arrives and views the tape, which presents him with Cut Bank's first murder case. The next day, Dwayne leaves a copy of the video at the local post office, where the postmaster has filled out an application for Dwayne to receive the six-figure reward offered for providing evidence of violence against a postal worker. US Postal Inspector Joe Barrett (Platt) arrives in Cut Bank to inspect the body and confirm the reward for Dwayne.
Meanwhile, Georgie's murderer destroys the mail truck and puts the undelivered mail in a storage container, including the parcel for Milton. He then visits a trailer in a junkyard, where Georgie is hiding. Georgie pays the man, who is a mute Native American named Match (Burke).
Milton inquires at the post office about his parcel. When informed about Georgie's murder, he visits the scene of the crime and notes the large boot print left at the scene. He visits a local shoe store and identifies Match as the source of the print. Milton drives to Match's home and asks for his mail. Match refuses to answer, they fight, and Milton kills Match.
Dwayne visits Georgie at the trailer. As Dwayne explains that Georgie needs to provide no evidence of his presence here, it becomes clear that Dwayne and Georgie have staged Georgie's murder and plan to divide the reward money. Soon after, Stan discovers Georgie hiding underneath the trailer. Georgie attacks Stan with some bolt cutters and hides his body in the back of a van on the lot.
Milton tracks down Georgie at the trailer and confronts him about the location of the mail from his truck. He viciously murders Georgie with a crowbar. When the police arrive to process the murder scene, they are stunned to find Stan alive in the back of the van. As Stan recovers, Dwayne realizes that someone has figured out his scheme. He and Cassandra decide to leave Cut Bank immediately after the pageant.
Having figured out Dwayne's role in the scheme, Milton confronts him at the pageant. Dwayne races home and retrieves a rifle, but Milton has already unloaded it. Milton holds him at gunpoint, and when Cassandra arrives after winning the pageant, he takes her hostage as well. Dwayne drives Milton to the storage unit. He uses the cap of his Copenhagen to scratch "911" into the driver's side door, hoping the security officer will notice it as they drive onto the storage lot. Inside the storage unit, Milton quickly finds his parcel and thanks Dwayne for helping him find it.
When he notices Dwayne's "911" message, however, he places two large envelopes over Dwayne and Cassandra's heads, seals them with duct tape, and locks the storage unit. At the security gate, he is preparing to shoot the guard when Sheriff Vogel calls for Milton to come out of the vehicle. Milton drives towards Vogel instead, shooting as he goes. Vogel shoots and kills Milton, who crashes into a tree. Vogel rescues Dwayne and Cassandra.
Having worked out the entire scheme, Vogel and the recovered Stan summon Dwayne to the morgue. Vogel has Dwayne put a bulletproof vest underneath Georgie's corpse as he puts a silencer on his gun. He explains to Dwayne that he should leave town and never expect such a favor again. He shoots Georgie's corpse twice, and then presents the body to Inspector Barrett. The film ends as Dwayne and Cassandra drive out of town on their way to Los Angeles.
- Liam Hemsworth as Dwayne McLaren
- Teresa Palmer as Cassandra Steeley
- Billy Bob Thornton as Stan Steeley
- Bruce Dern as Georgie Wits
- Michael Stuhlbarg as Derby Milton
- Oliver Platt as Joe Barrett
- John Malkovich as Sheriff Vogel
- David Burke as Match
- Sonya Salomaa as Gretchen
- Christian Distefano as Wyatt
- Peyton Kennedy as Rosie
- Graem Beddoes as Chance Stable
The film had its world premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival on June 16, 2014. Shortly after the premiere it was announcened A24 Films and DirecTV had acquired distribution rights to the film. The film was screened in Canada at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 10, 2014. The film also screened at the Edmonton Film Festival on September 26, 2014. The film had its overseas debut at the Zurich Film Festival on October 4, 2014. The film was released on DirecTV Cinema on February 26, 2015 before being released in a limited release and through video on demand in the United States on April 3, 2015. The film was released in Canada on April 10, 2015 in a limited release and through video on demand. The film went on to premiere at the Palm Beach International Film Festival on March 29, 2015. and the Chattanooga Film Festival on April 2, 2015 and the RiverRun Film Festival on April 19, 2015.
Reviews at the premiere were mixed. Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 32% of 34 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 4.8/10. The site's consensus reads: "Cut Bank contains typically outstanding work from its solid veteran cast, but it's lost in a dull morass of predictably derivative crime thriller clichés." Metacritic rated it 44/100 based on twelve reviews. Geoff Berkshire of Variety wrote, "A strong supporting cast, including Bruce Dern, steals the show in otherwise routine thriller". Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter called it a "copycat, self-consciously comedic violent noir" in the style of the Coen Brothers and Quentin Tarantino.
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- "Cut Bank (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 20, 2015.
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- Berkshire, Geoff (June 18, 2014). "Film Review: 'Cut Bank'". Variety. Retrieved March 31, 2015.
- McCarthy, Todd (June 19, 2014). "'Cut Bank': LAFF Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 31, 2015.