Who Is Cletis Tout? (review)

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The title is surely meant to evoke the infamous tagline for The Usual Suspects, and the film plays like warmed-over Tarantino by way of wannabe Elmore Leonard. That said, Cletis is not without his own charms. Writer/director Chris Ver Wiel spins a slight tale out of the plight of an escaped con (Christian Slater: 3000 Miles to Graceland) on the lam who buys a fake identity based on the recently deceased Cletis Tout, which comes with problems of its own, such as the hired killed (Tim Allen: Big Trouble) who’s still on Tout’s tail. Or so we’re told. Ver Wiel infects us with delicious suspicion via the film’s construction — Slater tells the tale in flashback to Allen, trying to convince the killer he’s not Tout — but fails to pay off on the massive potential inherent in the questions raised, like: Is Slater telling us the truth? Fans of Slater and Allen will enjoy, particular Allen’s movie-obsessed hitman, but others will likely be disappointed, particularly by how Allen’s blow-by-blow movie analysis indicts his own story.

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