Christmas Eve 1907 is quiet in the Arizona Territory under the supervision of steadfast marshal Valentine Casey (Dwight Yoakam). Suddenly, with shocking brutality, the violent adoptive family from whom he has separated himself, led by no-nonsense patriarch Leland Henry (Luke Askew), rolls into town and commits a fatal robbery. One year later, Valentine has relocated to another town, where he begins a courtship with the mysterious and beautiful Adalyne (Bridget Fonda). Before long, the haunted marshal is being sought out not only by a bumbling government man (Bud Cort), whose records show that Val was killed a decade earlier in the Spanish-American War, but also by the outlaw family from whom he can not seem to sever himself.
Country music performer Yoakam's directorial debut is a singular western oddity, taking the conventions of the genre and throwing in a large amount of black comedy and extreme violence. With a cast composed of seasoned character actors (Askew, Bo Hopkins, Paul Reubens, Bud Cort, Michael Jeter) Yoakam creates an atmosphere of the unexpected, falling somewhere between the films of David Lynch, the Coen Brothers, and Sam Peckinpah, in which a scene can quickly make the transition from idiosyncratic weirdness to startling bloodiness. Funny, brutal, and chaotic, SOUTH OF HEAVEN, WEST OF HELL, is a one-of-a-kind western that refuses to follow expectations.
Black Comedy |
Country Music |