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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

'The Hollow' DVD: Exceptional Southern Gothic Noir

Image result for the hollow movie 2016 images

The January 3, 2107 Uncork'd Entertainment DVD release of the 2016 drama "The Hollow" demonstrates the potential for good-quality independent films with broad appeal. It further proves that a compelling story and good acting does not require elaborate pyrotechnics, extremely psychotic behavior, or the Flavor of the Month as the star.

The following YouTube clip of the "Hollow" trailer does a good job demonstrating the style and the drama of the film.

The gritty stereotypical fun of "Hollow" begins with corrupt Sheriff's Deputy Ray Everett, played to a ignorant redneck T by writer/director Miles Doleac, getting a partially voluntary blow job by high-school girl Kami King as Everett sits in his patrol car while on duty. A local man approaching the car to buy drugs from Everett barely slows down the intercourse with King.

Everett further shows his mean streak in directing a couple of outsiders to a secluded spot when they approach him to ask about a quiet place. The young lovers soon getting shot is only the start of the problems for Everett. The girl is the daughter of a Congressman.

The high profile nature of the case brings a pair of FBI agents who are a bizarro version of Mulder and Scully of "The X Files" fame; the personal relationship between agents Vaughn Killinger and Sarah DeSoto has already taken a toll on the personal and professional lives of those feds and continues to be a "complication."

The other "central casting" characters include mostly upright local sheriff Beau McKinney, whom William Sadler infuses with the spirit of his portrayal of Sheriff Jim Valenti in the early 2000s scifi series "Roswell."  Veteran character actor William Forsythe does equally well playing stock character small-town power broker Big John Dawson.

Writer/director Doleac distinguishes "Hollow" from being a USA network movie or a shoddy clone of a novel by Mississippi crime novelist Greg Iles by giving his characters substance and adding depth to the element of "everything is related" that pervades Southern Gothic works. An example is providing enough of the backstory of Everett to understand why he is the scum that he is and to generate sympathy for him.

Additionally, the story moves at a good pace. Killinger and DeSoto have decent success uncovering information even though it does not always bring them closer to their goal of proving that the truth is out there, the various elements of stress take their toll on all involved, and several characters gain insight into themselves. Further, the significance of the title of the film is revealed relatively late in the film and plays homage to Iles.

Behind-the-scenes Coleac does just as well with a wrap up of the case that is very true to classic noir. Several principals (but not necessarily the chief administrator with his own dirty secret at the local high school) have a tense confrontation on a dark country road. The extent to which anyone is standing when any literal and/or figurative smoke clears provides a good payout.

The final scene is even better both in coming back to a development during the film and showing that redemption and happy endings are possible.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Hollow" is encouraged to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.