"Apparently Dallas is 362 miles from LA. But Dallas (the city) does not jus"
This semi-autobiographical movie is written and directed by Scott Caan. It is also his movie directorial debut. And after all that build up – Dallas 362 is surprisingly sophisticated movie.Apparently Dallas is 362 miles from LA. But Dallas (the city) does not just represent a destination but salvation.
This semi-autobiographical movie is written and directed by Scott Caan. It is also his movie directorial debut. And after all that build up – Dallas 362 is surprisingly sophisticated movie.
The film starts out with a blazing montage of pictures that show us the lives Dallas (Scott Caan) and Rusty (Shawn Hotsy) lead. These boys are best friends and have been getting into bar fights in LA since they were fifteen. Now they are twenty four, and after nine years of busted lips, nights in jail and having his mom bail them out, Rusty is starting to realize that things have to change.
Dallas is fine with the way things are and is happy partying and trying to make a quick buck - legally or illegally. Rusty realizes that they are slowly committing suicide, and the only way to survive is to get out of L.A. and back to Dallas (the city) where he grew up.
The first scenes have the feel of another slick buddy film. But after a few conversations it is clear that this movie is far beyond bawdy jokes and fistcuffs. Rusty understand where the two of them are headed if they stay together. It is this conflict that carries the film to its climax. Watching Rusty struggle with the realization that he has to leave Dallas behind is heart wrenching.
This struggle is best depicted in a conversation Rusty has with his mom after yet another bar fight. She starts yelling at him and instead of getting mad at her Rusty gets mad at himself. He knows all the fighting and drinking is pointless but is not willing to give up on this life as it means giving up on Dallas as well. The insight he has is surprising and gives his character profound depth.
During the Denver International Film Festival, Caan talked about how this movie is a throw back to S.E Henton (the writer of Tex, The Outsiders and Rumble Fish) and he has done her novels justice. Not only has he borrowed a few names from her books (Dallas from The Outsiders and Rusty from Rumble Fish), but more importantly he has captured the essence of these stories as well. You can really feel the struggle these unprivileged boys are going through and desperately want them to make it.
While the lead characters are well written, some of the supporting characters are a little weak. They add some comic relief but do little to move the plot along. However the acting all around is solid. Shawn Hotosy blends toughness and vulnerability nicely. Caan exudes manliness without being overly cocky.
But where Caan really deserves kudos is in his mature handling of the story. There are so many places he could have indulged the whims of the audience to give us a happy ending – and there by weaken his film over all. But in the end he demonstrates restraint that few writers in Hollywood do and gives audiences a stylish and meaningful film that is worth seeing.But in the end Caan demonstrates restraint that few writers in Hollywood do and gives audiences a stylish and meaningful film that is worth seeing.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Starz Denver Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Starz Denver Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 CineVegas Film Festival. For more in the 2003 CineVegas Film Festival series, click here.