Arkansas is a neo-noir crime film directed by Clark Duke, based on the John Brandon novel of the same name. The plot sees two budding drug runners move up the ranks of the ‘Dixie Mafia’ after their boss dies, however without direction they find themselves trapped in a cycle of violence and expansion.
I enjoyed this film a lot more than I first thought I would, I thought when I first put this film on that it might be yet another generic crime film, but it is so much more than that.
Firstly, I like the chaptered approach and how the story jumps around in time. Moreover, it is a strength of the film that neither the Vince Vaughn storyline nor the Liam Hemsworth storyline is prioritised over the other as in the end it is all part of a much bigger cyclical tale.
I thought the worldbuilding was well done, and I would like to see another film set in this Southern world of organised crime; it feels to me like a really under tapped market that is begging to be explored in further depth.
On an acting front Vaughn is strong here, he plays the role completely straight and nails the dramatic moments and the emotion of the character. This film really does prove, if there was any doubt left, that Vaughn can do both drama and comedy well. Hemsworth on the other hand is not as strong, his performance is very one note with him not being able to conjure much up, other than his angsty anger.
Overall, a very strong crime film that could have benefited from a different lead.
The focus on the ‘Dixie Mob’
The chapters and the flashbacks themselves
Hemsworth is not a good actor
Reviewed by Luke