Phillip Noyce‘s Above Suspicion, a brilliant Kentucky redneck crime drama that I first saw and wrote about three years ago, is still unreleased. It was going to open last March but you know what happened. The last I heard the U.S. debut would be in early ’21. The 7.5 appearance of an “international” trailer suggests an Australian opening. The whole COVID thing has thrown everything out of whack.
“The Girl From Lonesome Holler,” posted on 7.24.17: “Above Suspicion, which is based on Joe Sharkey’s 1993 true-life novel, is a triple-A, tightly-wound, character-driven genre flick (i.e., rednecks, drug deals, criminals, lawmen, murder, car chases, bank robberies) of the highest and smartest order.
“Most people would define ‘redneck film’ as escapist trash in the Burt Reynolds mode, but there have been a small handful that have portrayed rural boondock types and their tough situations in ways that are top-tier and real-deal. My favorites in this realm are John Boorman‘s Deliverance, Billy Bob Thornton‘s Sling Blade, and Lamont Johnson‘s The Last American Hero. Noyce’s film is the absolute, dollars-to-donuts equal of these films, or at least a close relation with a similar straight-cards, no-bullshit attitude.
“Noyce always delivers with clarity and discipline but this is arguably the most arresting forward-thrust action flick he’s done since Clear and Present Danger. Plus it boasts a smart, fat-free, pared-down script by Mississippi Burning‘s Chris Gerolmo, some haunting blue-tinted cinematography by Eliot Davis (Out of Sight, Twilight) and some wonderfully concise editing by Martin Nicholson.
“Above Suspicion damn sure feels like an early ’70s film. I mean that in the most complimentary way you could possibly imagine. It’s about real people, tough decisions, yokel culture, corruption, Percocets, hot car sex and lemme outta here. There’s no sense of 21st Century corporate wankery. Adults who believe in real movies made this thing, and they did so with an eye for tension and inevitable plot turns and fates dictated by character and anxiety and, this being rural Kentucky, bad karma and bad luck.”