Entertainment Entertainment Movies

'Black Rock' review: Dishonorable discharge

** (out of four)

The hunted-in-the-woods thriller “Black Rock” would excite a lot more fans if Mark Duplass had finished writing the script.

Instead, Duplass (the weak “Jeff, Who Lives At Home,” the fantastic “The Puffy Chair”) gives his director/star/"The League" co-star/wife Katie Aselton only bare bones to work with, leading to a 75-minute movie with characters who haven’t been thought through at all. For no particular reason, Sarah (Kate Bosworth) invites both Lou (Lake Bell) and Abby (Aselton) to camp on the island they frequented as kids, even though Lou and Abby had a falling out years ago.

Perhaps the movie’s point is that a friend sleeping with your significant other isn’t a life-or-death situation. Soon after the girls come across a trio of guys, the ladies are running for their lives, and who hooked up with whom isn’t really an issue anymore.

Aselton has cited “Deliverance” as an inspiration, but “Black Rock” hardly develops beyond its plot summary. The filmmaker does nothing to get beneath the surface of the enemy dudes, military veterans who have only been back 18 days. Despite featuring a few searing images and chilling choices, the movie still unfolds as if it’s trying to be predictable. The person you expect to get shot gets shot; the cathartic emotional conversation happens exactly when you think it should.

Genre pieces can be straightforward but shouldn't confuse shallowness with efficiency. Continually during “Black Rock,” you remember the open-ended exploration of Aselton’s “The Freebie” and wonder why she treats the mind and body with so much less care than the heart.

 

Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Friday at 6:55 a.m. on WCIU, the U

mpais@tribune.com

 

Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye's Facebook page.

 

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Grateful Dead drummer dishes dirt, drug dependency in new book

    Grateful Dead drummer dishes dirt, drug dependency in new book

    As a founding member of the Grateful Dead, Bill Kreutzmann watched the world change from behind his drum kit, shoveling coal in the wildly tribal rhythm section as the Dead went from San Francisco underground curio to ground-breaking indie outfit, then progenitor of the improvisation-based rock...

  • Book comes out ahead of Grateful Dead farewell concerts in Chicago this weekend

    Book comes out ahead of Grateful Dead farewell concerts in Chicago this weekend

    The cliché that colors every good rock star story is “sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll." For the Grateful Dead, the trailblazing rock band known for its improvisational style, revelatory live shows and dedicated fanbase, there was that and so much more.

  • 10 best movies of 2015 so far

    10 best movies of 2015 so far

    The year’s half over! How did that happen? No idea. With six months of a good year of movies in the books, let’s see how the Top 10 list is looking, with a quote from each respective review. Note: There are a few I’ve seen that I really like that haven’t yet opened in Chicago, and those aren’t...

  • If you make less than $50,440, proposal could increase overtime pay

    If you make less than $50,440, proposal could increase overtime pay

    Nearly 5 million more Americans would qualify for overtime pay under new rules proposed Tuesday by the Obama administration, a long-anticipated move expected to affect a broad swath of salaried employees from store managers to social workers to restaurant shift supervisors.

  • Chicago's minimum wage increase attracting workers to city

    Chicago's minimum wage increase attracting workers to city

    Unlike previous summers, UniStaff is experiencing a spike in job applicants at its Little Village location, a trend the branch manager says is tied to the city's minimum wage increase to $10 per hour beginning Wednesday.

  • 'The Bachelorette' episode 7 recap: How many meltdowns can Shawn have in one week?

    'The Bachelorette' episode 7 recap: How many meltdowns can Shawn have in one week?

    Welcome to RedEye’s coverage of “The Bachelorette,” arguably the most misogynistic show on television! The format is pretty simple: Five women of RedEye each drafted five of the 25 competing men. Everyone gets one point for every man who gets through each week. If you ever want your daughter to...

Comments
Loading