The Hollow Point: A Review by Nate Hill

The Hollow Point has taken the action/crime genre by storm in the first few months of the year, and it’s a shame it wasn’t released with a little more fanfare or marketing, as I only happened to stumble upon it while browsing shaw on demand. It’s bleak, vicious and frequently quite funny, and while doesn’t quite possess the near mythic, philosophical properties of something along the lines of No Country For Old Men, which it is clearly influenced by, it makes up for that in pure bloody spectacle, showing in demented detail just how far the cartels will go to ensure their business thrives, and just how determined the grizzled American lawmen are to protect what’s theirs, and weed out corruption bullet by bullet. Bullets are the case in point here, and we see how the manufacturing and smuggling of cheap ammunition across the border to Mexico has taken its toll on the now ravaged, bankrupt southern US towns. Two sheriffs preside over one such town, each with a different set of morals that get wonderfully upturned in honest to god character arcs. Violent, jaded Leland (Ian McShane) deals out justice excessively with a bitter hand and no qualms about bending the rules. Upright, idealistic Wallace (Patrick Wilson) believes in the rule of law, until things get so out of hand that he’s force to realize that no such thing actually exists, at least anymore. Following a deal gone wrong, the cartels dispatch a terrifying assassin (John Leguizamo in terminator mode) to work his way through a list of targets. Wallace and Leland are forced to contend with this beast and smoke out the local liaison to the cartels, in the form of sleazy used car salesman Shep (Jim Belushi has never been this good). Shootouts, heated arguments, severed limbs, betrayals and conflicting morals ensue, and it’s one nicely balanced display of a classic ethical drama and a gory shoot em up that work hand in hand. Each character is hurting in some way, even Leguizamo, who’s ice cold, thinly written ultimate badass gets surprisingly fleshed out in a third act that slows down just enough for us to care about these people. Wilson is the epitome of cool without even trying to be, always exuding vulnerability and grit at the same time, no easy task but one he has consistently been doing for years now, making any work he does instantly memorable. McShane is simply one of the best living actors out there,

no argument. He’s curiously underused in Hollywood, or perhaps prefers to keep a low profile, but it’s always great to see him do work worth his talent, and he’s the heart of this film, using salty comic relief and world bitterness to turn Leland from a callous, hard bitten piece of work into a believable and relatable human being, all the while kicking ass with a gigantic desert eagle cannon that is probably way over state regulations. As nasty and violent as it is, there’s heart, in smaller doses, and the filmmakers use beautiful cinematography, terrific editing and a lived in, business-like yet ponderous script to convey the futility and tragedy of the illegal arms race that poisons these areas, while always keeping up the action and intensity of a genre piece. One of the best I’ve seen so far this year. 

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