New York Times - 07/17/1992
"...[Franklin shows] thoughtfulness and promise....Wrenching, altogether satisfying..."
USA Today - 07/22/1992
"...It's a jewel..." -- 3 out of 4 stars
Entertainment Weekly - 10/04/1996
"...Refreshingly original....Paxton quietly reveals many sides to his cop's story..." -- Rating: A-
Los Angeles Times - 05/08/1992
"...Taut and sure-footed....[Franklin] has a good feeling for how to build tension....Paxton is a superb actor..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 05/08/1992
"...Here is a crime movie that lifts you up and carries you along in an ominously rising tide of tension, building to an emotional payoff of amazing power..."
Total Film - 04/01/2004
"Serious, complex and involving....Carl Franklin's thriller explores the gap between family and ambition, desire and sacrifice."
African-American director Carl Franklin's ONE FALSE MOVE presents itself as a crime thriller, but upon deeper inspection reveals itself to be a thought-provoking drama concerning racism and racial identity. After stealing a large stash of cocaine and brutally murdering several people in the process, two Los Angeles outlaws--the intelligent Pludo (Michael Beach), an African-American, and the psychopathic redneck Ray (Billy Bob Thornton)--hit the road with Ray's biracial girlfriend Fantasia (Cynda Williams). Thinking that the killers might be headed to Ray and Fantasia's hometown of Star City, Arkansas, two L.A.P.D. detectives travel there to await their arrival. They're greeted by "Hurricane" Dixon (Bill Paxton), the town's energetic police chief, who looks up to them as if they're superheroes. When Pludo and Ray stop in Texas to sell their drugs, Fantasia continues on alone to Star City where she intends to reunite with her 5-year-old son. Once there, Hurricane tracks her down and she challenges him to confront the secret of their shared past, jeopardizing his marriage and career in the process. By the time Ray and Pludo arrive, a showdown forces Hurricane to draw his gun for the first time in his life. Billy Bob Thornton and Tom Epperson's intelligent script makes ONE FALSE MOVE a superior and complex drama that works on many levels.
Two ruthless drug dealers--an African-American man (Michael Beach) and a white redneck (Billy Bob Thornton)--commit a brutal mass murder in Los Angeles and are forced to flee the state. When their beautiful accomplice (Cynda Williams), who's also the girlfriend of the white outlaw, begs to go home to Arkansas, they continue on to Texas to sell their wares. She returns to her hometown where she has a 5-year-old boy living with her mother and brother. Apprehended there by local lawmen, and faced with the impending arrival of the drug dealers, she and the married white police chief (Bill Paxton) are forced to confront the secret of their shared past, turning this crime thriller into a powerful melodrama about racial identity. ONE FALSE MOVE is a also a tender character study of a small town police officer who sees his one chance at glory when real violence threatens his community.
African-American director Carl Franklin is a graduate of the American Film Institute. He got his start making films for Roger Corman.
ONE FALSE MOVE was nominated for five 1992 Independent Spirit Awards by IFP/West, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actress (for Cynda Williams) and Best Original Score. Director Carl Franklin received the 1992 New Generation Award from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.
The film was shown at the 1992 Palm Springs International Film Festival and the 1992 Santa Barbara International Film Festival.