Thursday, January 8, 2015
After a solid opening, The World Made Straight slows to a painful Southern crawl.
Review by Matt CummingsIn David Burris' The World Made Straight, life in North Carolina and Madison County is based on drug deals and dreams abated. For 17-year-old drop out Travis (Jeremy Irvine), that life is going nowhere until he meets a former teacher turned drug dealer Leonard (Noah Wylie) who sees the boy as full of potential. Unfortunately, his world also includes the dangerous drug lord Carlton (Steve Earle) and the sexually available druggie Dena (Minka Kelly). As Travis seeks help from Leonard to pass the GED, he learns of a deep betrayal that goes back to The Civil War, leading to a final showdown that puts his future in the crosshairs. The trouble with this production is that so little of it is interesting or even worthy of our attention. The backwater surroundings of 1972 North Carolina are appealing enough, but a haphazard story by Penner Shane Danielsen lacks a driving theme and sets our characters off in too many directions, none of which we ultimately care about. I can see the slow-burn he and Burris are trying to do, but the final result is terribly boring. The final 20 minutes linger in poorly-crafted violence, producing an end for some of our characters that feels more like made-for-television than a satisfying and bloody finale. The World Made Straight is as slow as Southern molasses, painfully slow, and honestly difficult to hear, its 2-channel stereo drowning out the dialogue, which never crawls above a barely-active pulse. Wyle is the best part of the whole affair, with Irvine honestly looking too mad most of the time to think straight. It's one thing to tell an experience-type of story, but part of that entails including an actual story, and The World Made Straight doesn't really have one. The World Made Straight is rated R for language including sexual references, drug content and violence and has a runtime of 119 minutes. Discuss this review with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125.