One False Move [1992]

A dark and spare thriller about irresistible forces headed for a collision with an immovable object. The latter is the local sheriff in a small Arkansas town (Bill Paxton); the former are a trio of L.A. drug dealers (Billy Bob Thornton, Michael Beach, Cynda Williams), who, having committed a multiple murder, head for that tiny town on the lam to hide out with Williams's family. Directed by Carl Franklin from a script cowritten by Thornton, the film contrasts the converging parties: Paxton as the eager small-timer who resents getting the high hat from the FBI and aches to prove himself; Thornton as the explosive bad guy who looks like a pussycat next to the sadistic Beach. In the middle is the subtle, low-key performance by Williams, who has secrets neither side is aware of. Compelling and energy-charged, without taking a single obvious step. --Marshall Fine

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