The Vertical Entertainment VOD/iTunes release of the unrated director's cut of the "Based on True Events" 2016 Josh Henderson (of the TNT "Dallas" series) noir-thriller "Rushlights" shows that streaming is not just for previously released and not-ready-for-primetime material. This production demonstrates that this format can also be used to show the public the film that the studio suits do not want you to see. In this case, it likely is the full extent of the violence in a few scenes.
"Rushlights" writer/director Antoni Stutz states in the press materials for this release that "this cut of the film is closer to what I (Stutz) had in mind initially. Its [sic] edgier. 'The gloves are off' if you like." We like; oh yes, we do.
The sex, drugs, and violence in the following Vimeo video of a "Rushlights" 2.0 promo. arguably make it one of the most atmospheric and enticing trailers you will ever see. Many viewers who will not need a cold shower after it will crave a cigarette.
Stutz commences this sinfully delicious delight with the classic noir set-up of having Henderson's Billy meet fellow loser Sarah at the diner where she works as a waitress until something better comes along. Mutual flirting begats a hot-and-heavy R-rated lust scene, which begats panicked night-time contact from Sarah to Billy.
The get your booty over here call relates to the recent death of the roommate of Sarah. This begats Billy and Sarah travelling to a small Texas town to perpetuate a scheme to collect a large inheritance to which they lack a rightful claim.
Both leads play their parts well; the portrayal of Billy seems to be an audition piece for Henderson regarding his subsequent role as the grown-up John Ross Ewing on "Dallas."
This attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the (presumed) sheep-ranching community triggers the bulk of the aforementioned removal of the gloves. The amount of bloodletting and the creative manners in which Satutz achieves this should satisfy every fan of the modern form of thriller. A climatic scene near the end particularly does not disappoint in this regard.
Stutz further excels in adding twists that keep the audience guessing. Any noir fan knows that deceit permeates the Billy-Sarah relationship, but the reveals regarding this are unexpected. The same goes to a lesser extent regarding the sibling rivalry between local sheriff Bob Brogden (whom Beau Bridges perfectly portrays) and younger brother attorney Cameron (whom Aidan Quinn nicely plays).
Stutz additionally borrows from the horror film genre in providing a few false endings before finally putting everything to rest. The seemingly final carnage is only the beginning of the end.
Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Rushlights" is encouraged to email me. You can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.