Director Scott Teems
Screenplay Teems, Andrew Brotzman based on the book by Damon Galgut
Starring Shea Whigham, Michael Shannon, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Bobby Soto, Bruno Bichir, Alvaro Martinez
There is something very genuine about watching Michael Shannon in a small town setting. There is something equally genuine about seeing Shea Whigham filled with regret. Catalina Sandino Moreno is in a genuine league all by herself. Even if the story and pacing of The Quarry fails to match up to the acting talent, it’s still something to enjoy, if for nothing but the skill of their acting.
Whigham is a man found by the side of the road by an alcoholic preacher (Bichir) on his way from Ohio to his new congregation. The preacher takes him to get something to eat, then down to a quarry just outside of the town he is heading towards. After some conversation, we discover that the man has a guilty conscience and that the pastor wants him to confess. Instead of a confession, the man hits the preacher on the head with a wine bottle, killing him. The man buries the preacher in the quarry, then goes through his things and heading to town, assumes his identity.
As luck or a very convenient script would have it, his ban is broken into by two cousins of Celia (Moreno) from whom he is renting a room. The two find evidence of his crime and its location, but keep it hidden as they are implicated in the breakin. The Sheriff (Shannon), who is sleeping with Celia, has it in mind to catch and convict the cousins.
Meanwhile, the man has become a popular preacher, for his unusual honesty and choices of readings. The timing of his rise in popularity and the surrounding events seems awfully rushed, if only to match the pace of other reveals. Of course all of these elements have to collide within the space of an hour and a half, which diminishes from the excellent acting, cinematography and scene building. Extra credit for the Ryan Bingham song, The Man, through the credits.
Thing is, it’s tough to not think this is a good movie. For the acting of the three leads alone this is worth a watch for me. It’s stark, holds little hope and drudges through joy with a miserable heart. There is hope though.
See this if you enjoy the work of the principal talents here. There is no sub par acting for even a single frame. You won’t be moved to smile by The Quarry. You will be moved, though.
(***1/2 out of *****)