Sean Penn’s first film as a director has all of the actor’s itchy Method hypersensitivity. That’s good and bad. Good because, despite the fact that The Indian Runner is based on a Springsteen song that resonates with Cain and Abel mythos (Nebraska’s ”Highway Patrolman”), you’re never sure which way the movie will dodge next. Bad because Penn has indulged in artsy longueurs, downer dialogue, and ersatz-Fellini freaks. David Morse (St. Elsewhere) and Viggo Mortensen (Young Guns II) are splendid as two Midwestern brothers — one a cop, the other a sneering bad boy — but Valeria Golino (Hotshots!) and Patricia Arquette have little to do as their women: This is a guy flick. What makes it worth a rental, though, is Penn’s maverick visual sense, an awkward, funky eye poetry that refreshingly breaks clear of the Hollywood norm. C+
Genre: Mystery and Thriller, Drama; Starring: David Morse, Viggo Mortensen, Patricia Arquette, Benicio Del Toro, Valeria Golino, Dennis Hopper; Director: Sean Penn; Author: Sean Penn; Runtime (in minutes): 127; MPAA Rating: R; Distributor: Columbia Pictures
Posted January 17 2015 — 11:46 AM EST
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