Director Trey Nelson exhibits a keen visual eye in Lost in the Sun, capturing evocative panoramas of Southern landscapes with widescreen camerawork that sets small men against expansive earth and sky.
But while his images have been composed with care, Nelson’s screenplay is a far less impressive invention. Operating like an affected retread of Clint Eastwood’s A Perfect World, his story concerns John (Josh Duhamel), a shady ex-con who picks up Louis (Josh Wiggins) at the funeral of the boy’s mother and offers to drive him to his grandparents’ house in New Mexico.
John’s true motives are left mysterious, but anyone who’s seen this sort of rural noir won’t have trouble immediately guessing his connection to the kid, especially once John begins teaching Louis how to drive and shoot a gun. Before long, John is making Louis an accomplice on an interstate bank-robbing spree, a nonsensical turn of events given John’s underlying motivations and a twist that Nelson’s script justifies with blather about men not being able to change their fundamental nature.
While that explanation may ultimately satisfy Louis, it reeks of pulp contrivance, albeit no more so than the film’s many other clichés, all of which culminate with a final detour into cornball Stockholm syndrome uplift.
Lost in the Sun
Written and directed by Trey Nelson
Opens November 6, IndieHouse Cinema at the Producers’ Club
Available on demand