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Arkansas (2020)

Arkansas (2020) gives us a unique look into the inner workings of a south American drug operation, the Arkansas job being the catalyst for everything that could possibly go wrong. We initially meet low-level criminals Kyle (Liam Hemsworth) and Swin (Clark Duke) who are yet to meet the Arkansas drug king who controls their jobs and lives but a series of rookie mistakes puts them on a deadly collision course straight into his grasp.

This crime thriller is Clark Duke’s director debut, he also co-wrote the screenplay and stars in one of the leading roles… a very confident choices to make. Despite the deafening vanity, I do admire his confidence and dare I say it, his surpassingly impressive results. The film is separated into bite size chapters, to me this is an obvious nod to Tarantino’s style of organising his timeline. Unfortunately this film lacks Tarantino’s vision and expert merging of comedy and violence, Arkansas (2020) is very flat, the film leaves opportunity for subtle humour but the moments are unsuccessful. I found the choice of using chapter heading crucial to my personal enjoyment of the movie, I found the storyline to be fluid and cohesive. Essentially without the simple use of chapters this movie would have been very heavy and far too chunky for one sitting.

The classic tale of drug mule’s making mistakes and getting themselves into progressive worse situations has been told many, many times and these stories have been told a lot better than this 2020 version. Although I was not strictly impressed by this film I did still enjoy watching it, it is defiantly a specific taste and this style of crime drama is slow and forbidding. The slow progression of the characters journeys and the overall narrative lost my attention, to some viewers I am sure this gradual build up was enticing but for me I found it to be lacking in excitement.

I had very little idea what the outcome of this movie was going to be until the final twenty minutes and I am not particularly sure whether that is a good thing or not? As a viewer I felt no attachment to any character or any narrative, i felt very empty whilst watching as the characters evoked no emotions for me, which to some audiences is not a issues but to me I find the lack of investment into the characters makes me seriously uninterested in the movies outcome.

Although I don’t necessarily think this film is revolutionary and I haven’t patricianly sung its praises, I did on the other hand appreciate the casts performances. Hemsworth and Duke had a good cop bad cop duo dynamic that I found to be very entertaining to watch, their chemistry combined with what I thought to be one of Vince Vaughn’s best ‘serious' performances to date was the most interesting aspect to this film by far. Essentially, this was a one time watch for me and I would only recommend this Netflix film if you happen to be a fan of crime/drug thrillers. This film was too slow and too empty for my liking, not enough action happened and the outcome was not exactly satisfying.


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Welcome to Film Probe, a platform where I have dedicated my time and energies to reviewing films, tv and more. I pride myself on offering more than just an opinion, but rather a carefully crafted insight into the film's themes, characters, and overall production.

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