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Trigger Man
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by William Goss

"Hollow Point"
2 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2007 SXSW FILM FESTIVAL: In theory, slow-burn suspense can work wonders for a thriller: give the audience an hour to warm up to the characters, only to pull out the rug and put them – and us – through the wringer. In practice, however, most filmmakers manage to screw the pooch with a numbingly inert first hour, leaving the viewer sans patience or empathy once the shit finally does hit the fan. Thus, for every 'The Descent,' we get three 'Wolf Creek's, with yet another example of the latter being Ti West’s 'Trigger Man.'

Inspired by true events (naturally), Trigger follows pals Reggie (Cunningham), Ray (Sullivan), and Sean (Reid) as they meander through the woods of Delaware in search of game, only to find themselves being hunted. (Feel free to toss in your own little ‘DUH-DUH-DUHHH!’ right here.)

However, in the fifty or so minutes until things go inevitably awry, even the characters remark on just how tremendously boring their circumstances are. With barely a name and a trait apiece, our trio wanders and wanders and wanders throughout the wilderness, as if writer/director West (The Roost) shot first and added the story later, leaving his film to initially play like Old Joy if those characters had a rifle handy.

And shoot West does, with a relentlessly roaming camera and ever-ominous score that never forgets to imply quite heavily that someone, somewhere, might just be watching them at any given moment. Once the crucial shots ring out, the wanderer(s) eventually drift(s) towards an abandoned mill nearby, and it’s only in some eleventh-hour moments that West’s guidance begins to grow less obvious, suggesting something more akin to a real movie than a hey-wouldn’t-it-be-cool, on-the-cheap, on-the-fly film school exercise.

If nothing else, West and friends prove that one doesn’t need a big budget to create a big bore. As far as cat-and-mouse games go, one would likely be better off in the company of Tom and Jerry.

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originally posted: 03/18/07 09:22:59
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 South By Southwest Film Festival For more in the 2007 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 Philadelphia Film Festival For more in the 2007 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.

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Directed by
  Ti West

Written by
  Ti West

  Reggie Cunningham
  Ray Sullivan
  Sean Reid
  Heather Robb
  Larry Fessenden
  James Felix McKenney

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