Fantasia (Cynda Williams), Ray (Billy Bob Thornton) and Pluto (Michael Beach) are a trio of criminals involved in various drug deals and horrific murders. The three plan to travel via car from Los Angeles to Houston, ending up in a small town known as Star City in Arkansas instead. Hot on the criminals’ trail is a pair of LAPD detectives who have discovered their destination plans and decide to give a word of warning to the town’s sheriff Dale Dixon (Bill Paxton).
When Dixon receives word of the possibility of dangerous criminals entering his town, he is overly confident that he and his fellow officers can handle the matter quite easily. But Star City has never had any real crimes or murders, nor has there ever been any real fear among the community. But as three criminals enter this town, the consequences are shocking.
One False Move is a neo-noir crime thriller filled with brutal moments of violence. The pacing for this film is great and builds to a showdown, but what makes this film engaging and exciting is the range of characters who are all different from each other. This includes the criminals themselves and the various law enforcement involved in bringing them to justice, including the leading character, Dixon. Dixon is determined and highly confident in himself, but he also carries an interesting yet secret past. His laid-back attitude is also quite different from how the LAPD officers operate, showing the two different worlds these leads come from. The criminals are violent and dangerous, heightening the suspense and unpredictability as they interact with various people on their road trip. I wasn’t expecting the film to make any major reveals with its characters, so when it did, it only strengthened the story and raised my investment bar even higher.
Performances here are rather pleasing. Bill Paxton is wildly fun, energetic, witty and passionate with his character, and I found him to be quite likeable. As for the actors playing the criminals, I was highly entertained by Pluto, played by Michael Beach, whose character is always calm and wise. By his side is Ray, played by Billy Bob Thornton, who not only looks dirty and acts crazy but continually makes rushed choices, usually ending in a murderous blood bath. Visually, the filming style captures moments that are tense, especially regarding the film’s unsettling violence.
Overall, packed with many characters who differ from one another, One False Move is a dark thriller that is quite violent, suspenseful, and even sometimes a little unsettling. Performances are great, with Bill Paxton delivering a confident performance and creating a witty and energetic character. The film’s villains, including Billy Bob Thornton, are creepy and highly disturbing. The film builds tension right from the start delivering a surprising showdown that left me on a high. There are twists and turns, which was a nice surprise. By the end of this film, I just wanted to see more as the credits rolled, which is always a positive feeling.