From David Rooney’s Hollywood Reporter 9.14.20 TIFF review of Joe Bell (Roadside/Vertical, 7.23): “It’s impossible to watch Mark Wahlberg’s performance as this burdened man, still grappling with his shortcomings as a human being, without taking into account the actor’s own very public reckoning with the hate crimes of his past.
“My feelings on whether he has a right to be pardoned have no place in a film review. But with his scraggly beard and haunted eyes, there’s a palpable sense here of a man who is suffering and hungering for redemption.
“In one or two instances Diana Ossana and Larry McMurtry’s screenplay drifts into teachable moments, such as Joe’s exchange at a gay bar with a local who talks about the damage wrought by his church’s rejection. But then there are lovely organic moments of illumination such as Joe’s encounter, well into his journey, with a sheriff whose warmth and understanding are fueled by his own troubled experience as the parent of a gay son. In this small but cathartic role, Gary Sinise shows what a great actor can do merely by listening.”