"Two Men In Town" Argue About Nothing Review

Rachid Bouchareb isn’t a household name, but he’s a film festival darling. With wins at Venice, Cannes, Berlin, and Chicago, not to mention a César Award to his name, Bouchareb arrives on the American scene with a valiant attempt to capture an American tale of old animosities boiling over in the melting pot of dustbowl USA. Attracting a top tier cast with Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland), nominee Harvey Kietel, winner Ellen Burstyn, and the always enjoyable Luis Guzmán, Bouchareb sets his lens on the arid sprawl of New Mexico to follow a parolee coming home to old troubles. William Garnett (Whitaker) has found Allah while serving time, following in the all-too familiar footsteps of Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, and an entire generation of young followers who converted in the ‘60s and ‘70s in search of a nation that was truly their own.

Right off the bat, this element of the story seems to backdate the film’s action, imbuing it with a sense of vintage drama that would have better fit that troubled time and the auteurs who brought the chaos to the screen. Keitel stars as Sheriff Bill Agati, unable to let Garnett off so easy for the crimes he committed nearly two decades before. With a tip of the hat to Easy Rider’s American odyssey, not to mention Unforgiven and so many other films’ bad-guy-struggling-with-the-temptation-of-the-old-life, Two Men In Town doesn’t feel like new territory. Beautifully shot and well performed, the film simply doesn’t have enough powder in the keg to explode with any crackling counter cultural cacophony. Not a bad film, Two Men In Town simply fits into a conversation that has already had better points made.


Theatrical TV spots and “Fences.”

"Two Men In Town" is on sale May 12, 2015 and is rated R. Crime, Drama. Directed by Rachid Bouchareb. Written by Rachid Bouchareb, Olivier Lorelle, Yasmina Kergoat. Starring Ellen Burstyn, Forest Whitaker, Harvey Keitel.

Kyle North • Staff Writer


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