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Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Arkansas 2020 * * 1/2 Stars

ArkansasDirector: Clark Duke
Year: 2020
Rated R
Rating: * * 1/2 Stars
Cast: Liam Hemsworth, Clark Duke, Vince Vaughn, Eden Brolin

Arkansas as slow burn, droning incarnate, is my latest review. It is based on a novel of the same name by John Brandon. The cast of Arkansas is like a bunch of recognizable actors going unrecognizable. Case in point: Co-star and Illinois native Vince Vaughn wears a St. Louis Cardinals hat while listening to their games on an old radio. Oh and director-slash-star Clark Duke sports an adult film mustache and kinda looks like a chick (oxymoron alert).

Anyway, 2020's Arkansas is not a bad feature debut for the 35-year-old Duke. Filmed at a snail's pace with zoom shots, whip pans, and a time setting that feels mostly 80's and 90's, Arkansas appears like something Quentin Tarantino would have done pre-Reservoir Dogs.

Arkansas' Movie Liam Hemsworth Review: Stream It or Skip It?In regards to Arkansas, you get a country-fried rock soundtrack, acts of brutal violence minus the action, and stories with chapters attached a la Pulp Fiction. Clark Duke, who was obviously influenced by directors such as S. Craig Zahler, Steven Soderbergh, and Tarantino (mentioned earlier), is a visual and camera hot dog helmer. Unfortunately, his bitty storytelling sensibilities in Arkansas don't quite catch up to his keen eye behind the lens.

The performances in Arkansas are underplayed yet solid with Vaughn, Duke, and Liam Hemsworth being the standouts. Their dialogue readings are slow, philosophical, and drawn-out. Yup, Arkansas may have a running time under two hours but hey, it kinda feels like three.

Clark Duke-directed crime drama Arkansas gets a poster and trailerWith music mostly from The Flaming Lips, a distributor by the name of Lionsgate, and a knack for having Johnny Lee's "Lookin' for Love" never sounding the same way again, Arkansas is about two drug dealers who take orders from a callous kingpin who they have never seen or met. In 2018, the normally fast-talking Vince Vaughn starred in the glacially-paced Dragged Across Concrete. Expect more of the same here. Call it "Arkan-drawl". Rating: 2 and a half stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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