First Snow (review)

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You’ve heard the one about the guy who came to a red light, right? What did he do? Why, he stopped, of course — that’s what you do at a red light, silly! Similarly: Slightly sleazy salesman Guy Pearce (Factory Girl) goes to see down-home roadside psychic J.K. Simmons (The Astronaut Farmer), who tells the former that he’s going to die. Now, I don’t want to suggest that I’m revealing how the film ends, but when it does, it leaves ya with the same general feeling: Um, okay, but so what? The stuff that comes in between, as Pearce gets a little nutso-obsessed with the premonition and how he might avoid it never quite catches fire — this wants to be a portrait of mania and fixation but, Pearce’s usual intense dedication to being in the moment aside, there’s not a lot of there there. (Disappointingly, Simmons eschews his usual what-a-hootness for a sedate moroseness in an underwritten part.) Screenwriter Mark Fergus (Children of Men) makes his directorial debut here, and though he achieves a moody visual elegance amidst the harsh landscapes of the American Southwest, what was probably intended as elegance in the storytelling is but an undernourished wanness.

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