The Righteous and the Wicked Review

As I've been tasked with reviewing shoe-string-budgeted Westerns, each film has been better than the last. The Righteous and the Wicked, director Craig A. Butler second feature film, is a period Western that makes up for what it lacks in effects, set design, and acting with a lovingly crafted patchwork of Western mythos, a solid B-grade script and a score that shamelessly (and admiringly) rips off Morricone. 

Bandit Hoss Williams (Craig Myers) rounds up a group of outlaws for a heist that could leave them a thousand dollars richer. Meanwhile, Marion (Justin Tade, looking every bit the love child of Michael C. Hall and Brad Pitt), a man of few words, gifted with quick hands and a hunger for vengeance, murders and buries the men who once called themselves The West Mountain Boys. Hoss is the last on the kill list and as the gang prepares for the robbery, tensions flare and nothing goes quite as planned.

The primary reason I enjoyed The Righteous and the Wicked has to do with Butler's script, which teases with an intro teasing a focus on the vengeful Marion, but instead zooming in on the fractured gang and rooting out old hatreds and the distrust that corrupts the men and poisons the sure-thing robbery. Acting is solid across the board, nothing extraordinary but also rarely dipping into cheesy delivery that spells doom for smaller films. There are character arcs and B-plots and while the subject matter is none too fresh, there is a sense of vision to the film that keeps you watching even when the tempo start dragging feet. It's a solid B-movie, perhaps something more. One wonders what Butler could do with a bit more money.

DVD Bonus Features

A 30-minute behind the scenes look marred by some poor handheld camerawork but otherwise an honest look at a small, homely production getting on its feet. Also included is a commentary from director Butler and one of the stars Billy Garberina, the two pointing out insider details on how they managed an expensive-looking scene or expounding on the acting talent present.

"The Righteous and the Wicked" is on sale November 15, 2011 and is rated PG13. Drama, Western. Directed by Craig A Butler. Written by Craig A. Butler. Starring Craig Myers, Billy Garberina, Justin Tade, Jeremy Owen, Phil Duran, Alexander Thorne.

Mark Zhuravsky • Staff Writer

I'm a prolific blogger, writer and editor who loves film.


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