The World Made Straight (2015) Noah Wyle & Southern Drama Hold the Cheese

Film poster for The World Made Straight
The 2015 film The World Made Straight, is a dose of southern drama, holding off the cheese, and delivering a tale which encompasses the Civil War, the drug culture and how weed seems to have replaced White Lightning as the redneck’s produce of choice. Noah Wyle plays the “Professor,” aka Leonard; a disgraced school teacher who was framed for selling pot. After losing his wife and child, along with his job, he decides to deal drugs and drop out of society.

He takes in a lad who leaves home after an argument with his overbearing father. Travis (played by Brit actor Jeremy Irvine, who made his name in War Horse) steals some marijuana plants from the local drug lord and sells them to Leonard on the advice of his friend Shank (Haley Joel Osment).

Leonard lives with his drug addict girlfriend Dena (Minka Kelly) who is not best pleased with the news that Travis will be living in the trailer as well. The “Professor” has a fascination with the past, as his ancestors and Travis’ were part of the Shelton Laurel massacre. A real event where 13 suspected union sympathizers were executed, the youngest being 13 years-old, although in the film they repeatedly refer to his age as 12.

The movie is adapted from the Ron Rash 2006 novel of the same name. This drama is a slow moving tale which features a few flashback sequences of the Civil War massacre and Leonard’s more recent past. The feeling is one of doomed existence as well as an acceptance of fate. As directed by David Burris, his first feature film in the chair, The World Made Straight moves at a snail’s pace.

Amazingly this does not detract from the power of the actor’s performances and actually helps the viewer get into the story. With its reflection on needless violence and the need for escape, the film holds our attention throughout.

Wyle is excellent as the over-educated drug pusher who cannot stop reading his ancestor’s Civil War diary and is desperate to save Travis from a dead end existence in the area. Irvine as Travis Shelton is all angst and ire, unhappy with his lot in life yet resenting the interference from his girlfriend (played by Australian actress Adelaide Clemens) and Leonard.

What is missing from this film is that “cheese” factor where the action all feels like a soap opera in progress and each character a stereotype. The one problem with the movie is that it feels more like a TV movie of the week rather than a “proper” film. Available on Netflix and Amazon Instant Video, the film is a bit on the long side, but still enjoyable.

3.5 out of 5 Stars.

Silent Hill Revelation 3D (2012): by Michael Smith

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I missed the 3D version of this film when it came out at the cinema. Which is a shame, as I think it would have looked even better than the 2D that I had to download via iTunes. Despite the lack of the 3D it was a surprisingly good sequel.

Written and directed by Michael J Bassett (he helmed the superb films Deathwatch and Wilderness) Silent Hill Revelation follows in the footsteps of the first Silent Hill film.

In this film, we get to see Heather and her father Harry as they come to another “new town” and new school for Heather. They’ve been on the run since the first film. Mum Rose is trapped in the netherworld of Silent Hill and we are treated to a flashback where Harry promises Rose that he’ll protect their daughter.

On Heather’s first day of school, everything goes disastrously wrong and she loses her dad, her helper, and her independence as she goes to Silent Hill to save her father.

The film has been blessed with a brilliant cast:

Adelaide Clemens
Kit Harington
Carrie-Anne Moss
Sean Bean
Radha Mitchell
Malcolm McDowell

Unfortunately all the “headliners” as it were are restricted to cameo roles, including Sean Bean who, with Carrie-Anne Moss) spend a bit more time on camera than Radha Mitchell and Malcom McDowell. *On a side note here – It was wonderful to see Ms Moss again, although admittedly I didn’t recognise her at first; starting at the screen and thinking who is that, she looks so familiar…)

Just like the first film, this edition of Silent Hill appears to have mixed several different iterations of the games together to flesh out the story. Although arguably they have really included some of the basic “sets” from each of the first three games. The fairground has been a feature of Silent Hill since the first game.

Where did this come from??
Where did this come from??

Although a tiny dream segment is spent on the “spitting” monsters (so tiny in fact it amounts to about a nano second) from the verse, more time is spent on the nurses and good old Pyramid Head (who appears to be twins in this film) with his giant killing tools and who some what amazingly appears as a Saviour at a couple of points in the film?!

Still, random character twists aside, the place looks like Silent Hill and sounds like Silent Hill. The melancholy music is present throughout (and I will unabashedly state that I love that piano riff) and the villains look like they could have stepped out of the video game. So overall, I did enjoy the film.

But.

I did have some problems with it.

Was it just me or did Adelaide Clemens look an awful lot like Arielle Kebbel? Although in one of the flashback scenes where she had brown hair, she looked more like a younger Maggie Gyllenhaal; and Kit Harington looked like David Boreanaz Junior with long hair. The fact that these two actors made me think of other people disturbed me a bit. Although nothing Clemens did convinced me that she could ever scream as good as Kebbel.

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I also don’t understand the use of Malcom McDowell. Don’t get me wrong, I adore the man. I just don’t see the reasoning behind using him in this film. Are they alluding to his recent Horror Film link in Halloween? Is this a nudge and a wink to his appearance in other horror films? I don’t know and it’s puzzling.

I was also disappointed to see that Radha Mitchell’s Rose had no more than a few seconds screen time. Not just because I adore this woman, but because I was hoping that she was going to explain how “Heather” got out of the predicament that both of them were in at the end of the previous film. Apart from the medallion device that is mentioned by Harry,Vincent and ever so briefly by Grandpa Leonard it is never satisfactorily explained. So points off for that little omission.

I do know that there will be a core of Silent Hill game fans who will detest the film just as much as they detested the first film. To them I say, plug your Silent Hill 2 in the old Playstation and enjoy that experience and stop waiting for films that are going to recreate the magic and the uniqueness that is the “old” Silent Hill verse.

Okay?

But apart from the very few things that put me off (not many really) I’d say that this gets a 4 out of 5 scary Silent Hill bunnies. Just because I’m a Silent Hill fan (of the game verse) and the fact that I love the use of the music; I’ll not take off too much for the lack of Radha Mitchell.

Scary Silent Hill Bunny!
Scary Silent Hill Bunny!