054: Jayne Mansfield’s Car (2012)

After making some absolute turkeys as an actor, Billy Bob Thornton puts his hillbilly hand back on the camera in this culture-clash tale of two contrasting families forced to bond after the death of a mutual mother figure.

Robert Duvall puts in a stellar performance as the whisky-slurred patriarch of the domineering Deep South family, whilst John Hurt perfectly plays the antithetical, awkward and terribly posh Englishman. Duvall and Hurt – or, as they will now be collectively knows, Durt – and the rest of the ramshackle bunch are clearing enjoying themselves and equally so are we watching them. However, it’s not without fault.

With such a bankable cast and genuinely good humoured script (written in part by Thornton, FYI), the ensemble roles all seem to be fighting for space of the screen. In doing so, the enjoyable lazy first half of Jayne Mansfield’s Car is replaced by a closing forty five minutes which desperately attempts to contextualise the story and tie up as many loose ends as possible.

Irregardless of the clunky ending, this is a must-see for any Billy Bob naysayers. Four films down and equipped with all the right film capabilities, he’s only one film and  fine tuning away from a mini masterpiece. Yeah, I went there.

THE GOOD: ‘They’ say write about what you know, and Billy Bob gives us the hick-schtick with great aplomb.

THE BAD: An unforgivable, throw-on scene which is too glaringly politically charged, to paraphrase, ‘War’s not cool man, ya dig?’.

★★★★☆☆

IMDb it.

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