Charlie Huston’s first standalone neo-noir offers the same visceral, gritty and comical impulses found in his popular Henry Thompson trilogy. In the summer of 1983, four teenage boys (a brainiac, a punk rocker, an army wannabe, and an ex-drug-runner) reclaim their stolen bicycle. They also find a crystal – meth lab and rip-off a half kilo to sell and perhaps buy their dream car with.
The dope-pimp Arroyo brothers – led by obese stoner-hippie, Geezer, – who damn near steals the show – kick off a vengeful search. Mayhem, much of it over-the-top and delivered in gruesome detail – rocks the California suburb, and dysfunctional parents deal with their own demons while the boys prove surprisingly clever in a tough spot.
From a sharp pitch, staccato dialogue and volatile action, durable characters and an intricate plot emerge, demonstrating Huston can still deliver the expected thriller goods. Ed Lynskey