No one can seem to think ill of regional humanist Victor Nuñez (Ruby in Paradise, Ulee's Gold), but this low-budget Florida old-schooler is generally half the storytelling powerhouse he is claimed to be and twice the amateurish cliché-monger. This, his latest film, sat undistributed for four years, despite a cast (Josh Brolin, Timothy Olyphant, Josh Lucas, Scott Wilson, William Forsythe) that should have paid its way to a shelf at Blockbuster. Virtually everything about Coastlines, from its title to the scenario that tracks a laconic good old boy (Olyphant) as he returns from prison to his Gulf Coast swamp town and its still-tempting criminal backside, telegraphs the hand of an idea-free newbie, not three decades' experience crafting "personal" cinema. Brolin and Sarah Wynter, as the married woman swayed by the new boy in town, find a few genuine moments over a kitchen table, but Nuñez's script is a limping, obvious bore. For some fans, the taste of on-location color matters most, but Nuñez's idea of the characters' ordinariness translates to flavorlessness, and he lights and shoots his scenes with a high schooler's care, often not even bothering to match up sight lines. Merely going to Sopchoppy, Florida, with actors is not quite enough.
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