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‘RED RIGHT HAND’ Film Review: An Enjoyable, Superbly-Acted Actioner Marred by Pacing Issues

Synopsis: Cash (Orlando Bloom) is trying to live an honest and quiet life, but when Big Cat (Andie MacDowell) forces him back into her services, he proves capable of anything to protect the town and the only family he has left.

The film Red Right Hand, directed by brothers Eshom and Ian Helms, promises intensity with its tagline “God. Family. Survival.” Unfortunately, while the title and trailer build a specific type of expectation, this particular thriller doesn’t quite deliver on the promise it’s title suggests.

The red appendage in question here refers to the pain Cash endures to leave Big Cats criminal enterprise and go straight. Yes, sir this good ole boy has quit drinking and sinning to live the quiet life of ranch hand in the Appalachian town of Odim County, helping his grieving brother-in-law Dominic and niece Savannah. With his wife gone, Dominic has been on a downward spiral, drinking heavily and ending up in hock to the tune of 100k to Big Cat. Of course, the loan is just a ruse to lure her former number 1 guy back into business of being bad which ultimately leads to some nasty stuff involving hammers, baseball bats, guns, knives…trouble is, at 1 hour 51 minutes in length, most of the significant action doesn’t take place until we are an hour in, during which time we’ve had to endure some leaden dialogue and a fairly clichéd build up.

The Helms Bros’ casting is an inspired triumph though which elevates the film. MacDowell makes an ingenious choice as the villainous Queenpin; her talent for intensity and histrionics makes her chillingly credible as a remorseless crime boss who instils fear in her henchmen. Orlando Bloom lends gravitas and authenticity to the reformed Cash, nailing the Southern accent and providing a compelling emotional centre. The Helms Bros. have masterfully assembled a cast that renders their twisted world mesmerising. MacDowell’s deliciously evil turn and Bloom’s gravitas give the film a compelling dynamism and depth.

Watching these two is key to holding the audience’s attention, elevating what could have been a forgettable film into something a bit more special than it otherwise might have been. Kudos then for the Helms choice in leads. Having said that, if there is a weak link in the cast it’s Garrett Dillahunt’s turn as a preacher (and later, ass-kicker). His performance feels misjudged and flat; his inclusion oddly miscast.

Red Right Hand film ultimately falls short as a memorable thriller. The story takes too long to gain momentum, leaving the viewer’s interest lagging until the final act. With tighter pacing and a script that allowed Bloom’s charisma and kick-ass capabilities to shine earlier, this could have been a breakout opportunity for him as an action lead. As it stands, the Helms Bros. deliver a half-decent but far from spectacular genre piece. With some subtle pacing adjustments, Red Right Hand could have packed one heck of a wallop.

VERDICT:

Magnolia Pictures will release RED RIGHT HAND in theaters and on VOD February 23, 2024

Where to watch RED RIGHT HAND
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