Film noir is a genre we largely associate with private dicks, feisty dames, and rain-slicked city streets. That is, until somebody decided perspiration was an effective substitute for precipitation, turning sunny locales like Miami or Los Angeles into suitable contemporary settings for these downbeat crime stories. In Rushlights, Billy (Josh Henderson) and Sarah (Haley Webb) are a down-and-out L.A. couple who chance upon what may be history’s least advisable make-it-rich scheme. When Sarah’s roommate, Ellen, overdoses, they act as any decent human beings would: by hastily packing a bag and getting the hell out of Del Rey (or wherever). While cooling their heels, they discover Billy threw a bunch of Ellen’s things in Sarah’s bag, including Ellen’s driver’s license and a letter declaring her the sole heir of a recently deceased uncle in Texas. Billy, noting Sarah’s uncanny resemblance to the dead woman, suggests she assume Ellen’s identity and claim the inheritance so they can live like damn hell ass kings. It’s so crazy it just might work, which is a pleasant way of saying there’s no way in hell it will work. Everybody here tries their best, especially Beau Bridges as the sheriff and Aidan Quinn and his attorney brother (once again, Beau is the less attractive sibling), but director Antoni Stutz’s lazy touches, such as assuming everyone in rural Texas lives in the house from Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and the endless hidden connections and coincidences eventually become ridiculous. Like its primitive namesake, Rushlights offers brief moments of illumination that are extinguished by repeated missteps.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on June 19, 2013