It’s been over 10 years since director Antoni Stutz has made a film. “Rushlights” is his latest film. Billy and Sarah (played by Josh Henderson and Haley Webb) are two teenagers who meet at a diner and quickly fall in love. A friend of Sarah’s dies from a drug overdose and Sarah finds a note sent to the friend informing her of an inheritance from her late uncle. Billy then hatches a plan involving Sarah (who looks like the friend) to pose as her to get the inheritance. In the mix we have the lawyer “Cameron Brogden” (played by Aidan Quinn) who is in charge of the case, along with his brother and town sheriff “Robert Brogden” (played by Beau Bridges) who is trying to figure out if foul play was involved.
I really like the cast in this one. Aidan Quinn is the stand out performer here, all is not what it seems with the sneaky lawyer. His character had a lot of different aspects that I liked. Beau Bridges was commendable too, although I think he probably did it more for the paycheck. Josh Henderson and Haley Webb have some good chemistry together but their characters are both really underdeveloped. I felt at times they were trying just a little bit to hard to sell it. It’s a very well shot film too, considering it is an independent feature. With the story being set mostly in Texas we get some great slide guitar music, along with that we get a more traditional european score. A bit like what you would hear in a Roman Polanski film, i quiet enjoyed it.
All these points aside, the film has some very weak aspects too. Henderson and Webb are supposed to be playing teenagers. This doesn’t work and not only because we know they are older actors but I don’t think two immature teenagers would be able to pull of a web of lies like this. Along with that It’s a very rushed introduction to the two characters and it’s only a week after there first conversation that Billy hatches this idea. I doubt that anybody with half a brain would go along with a plan and trust someone they just met so whole heartedly. I guess some details in the plot towards the end account for all of that though. I still like to know more than the bare minimum about the main characters. There is some issues with the lighting in several of the night scenes as well. Particularly the apartment scene in the beginning.
Moreover its a very predictable story. Minus the cool little twist towards the end, you know that Sarah’s past (once it is divulged) is going to come back to haunt her. It does, in the form of “Edward Romero” a drug dealer from Los Angeles. Edward chases the couple here there and everywhere trying to get money that he is owed. Billy and Sarah are supposed to be the protagonists but its hard to relate to them because they are difficult to like. I would think you would need more than identification to prove who you are when it comes to inheritance wouldn’t you? They also make several really bad decisions, like issues with Edward’s car and his gun. You would do your best to hide both of those things in a much better place then they do, yet somehow they are never found out. Robert is portrayed as a smart cop but I don’t think he is, else he would have figured it out pretty quickly.
This is not a bad film, if you’re looking for 90 minutes to kill, its got some things to like about it. Technically there aren’t to many issues, once again its in character and plot development that the story falls down. It’s a bit like a poor man’s Coen Brothers film (Fargo, Blood Simple) but I still think it’s a bit of fun.
My rating for “Rushlights” is 5/10