Hounded by police, ransacking drug dealers, and internal conflicts, Billy (Aidan Quinn) and girlfriend Sarah (Haley Webb) enter ruffian small town Tremo, Texas in search of illegitimate inheritance. A deceased Tremo millionaire leads to indications of fraud and murder as city inhabitants clamor for pieces of ill-gotten fortune
Sarah grabs an idea to pose as her dead roommate – the true inheritor – via a get in, get out plan proposed by Billy. Complications within the estate, stemming from an obnoxiously thick family tree in Tremo, boil processes and chip away at seemingly solid walls within fraudulent methods.
Huffy small town cops, led by Beau Bridges in Sheriff form, work overtime to abuse powers against notably irritated outsiders. Tremo’s welcome sign motto, touting friendly folk, is eschewed for tobacco spitting antics as Billy turns increasingly agitated with their forceful advances. Of course, lying takes its toll on a sexually embroiled relationship, stresses wearing down a mentally weakened Sarah whom is recovering from drug abuse.
Rushlights never ponders ethics. Streams of frightfully implicit decisions stretch into a widening connected family, which turns the indie piece weary. Script design runs a gamut of twists within each character’s framework, implausibly fixated on ensuring everyone carries scene stealing, soon-to-be-exposed secrecy. Rushlights’ final shock after an apparent break from dramatic tension becomes eye rolling instead of a mechanism for backtracking thought.
Excessive overdubbing pieces together plot devices, sagging images of cars drifting along dried deserts hardly compelling visual stimuli. Rushlights forces itself into a corner – maybe even last minute – by requiring necessary exposition over clearly immobile actors. Editing seems to have created confusion amongst a backdrop of left field turns, and holes needed filling.
Hampered by growing contrivances, including a random assault, needless home invasion, and linked family members, Rushlights is overburdened. Impacted with intrigue which continually slips away, Tremo’s crusted landscapes are incapable of containing such a broad level of intertwined drama. Well directed and appreciably captured on film, convoluted family matters are Rushlights’ undoing. [xrr rating=2/5 label=Movie]
Vertical Entertainment issues an AVC encode for this Blu-ray haul of functionally vibrant cinematography. Of importance here is contrast, seething sunlight a visual presence which rarely leaves the frame’s confines. Aggressively attaching to faces and background, contrast is unmistakably bright, and despite density that can wash fidelity, it still proves appealing.
Providing back up are black levels, spectacularly consistent with few ramifications. Shadow detail is preserved when it should be, crushed under truly limited light. Image depth is stupendous and uncompromising, capable of wiping away intrusions from compression.
While Rushlights is gifted with capable encoding, it does at times run over an appealing grain structure. Peaks are complicated matters that appear glazed with noise instead of naturally refreshing film grain. In an era where indie films shot on physical stock can be counted by few fingers, Rushlights is a fidelity reprieve that carries natural weight and clarity outside of its few gaffes.
Persistently yellowed, jaundiced flesh tones and browning hues work up some often aggravating color timing. While not insufferable, artificial heat applied in post has an opposing effect visually rather than intentions of dramatic warmth. Imagery looks artificially aged as opposed to tense.
Final runs of superlative fidelity ensure success, facial detail overloading in close-ups with exceptions made for shaky focus. Noisy grain concerns never seem to carry fault, all of it levied onto the source. Medium shots appear natural, and vivid sharpness is capable of rendering environments with purity. No aliasing or other technical gaffe can slip in. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Video]
Slimming down this DTS-HD 5.1 mix into front presence lessens broad ambiance while still working overtime to space audio. Stereos split wide into the soundstage, capturing minutiae in clanging diner dishes or intruders shuffling through papers. Dialogue will spread from the center, plus cars shift as they pan across a spacious visual frame.
Lost, unfortunately, is any surround work. Budgetary constraints may have pared down mixing, although that remains a guess. LFE, handled only in few gunshots, is meager if present. It is a soft mix with presence. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Audio]
One featurette, a making of which only divulges character and plot details, serves as an extra. [xrr rating=1/5 label=Extras]
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