Starring: Jason Sudeikis, Evangeline Lilly, and Mike Colter
Directed by: Aharon Keshales
Rated R
Duration: 120 minutes
RLJE Movies

I don’t really invest much in movie synopses for the simple fact that it is a form of advertising. I’m sure if it was up to the director or the writer, they would want something vague so that the audience would not realize what they will experience. So maybe the director wrote the synopsis for “South of Heaven.” According to IMDb, “Jimmy, a convicted felon, gets early parole after serving twelve years for armed robbery. Upon his release, he vows to give Annie, his childhood sweetheart, now dying of cancer, the best last year of his life; unfortunately, it is not that simple. “Unfortunately, this movie is not that simple.

Jimmy (played by Sudeikis with that Midwestern Ted Lasso accent) gets out of jail at the beginning of the movie and we see him reunite with his fiancée, Annie (Lilly), so far so good. Unfortunately for Jimmy, who is not only trying to give the love of his life the best the last year of his life, but is also trying to keep his moral compass straight and narrow, his probation office is crooked, so far it is interesting. And then things get … quirky. Actually, that’s too nice a word. Things get ugly.

I’m not sure how much it should reveal because this movie takes so many different weird twists. I went from casually watching to trying to figure out whether I should laugh or get frustrated. Director and writer Aharon Keshales made 2013’s “Big Bad Wolves,” a highly underrated film that I enjoyed in multiple views. I can’t say the same for “South of Heaven” because there seems to be this creative idea of ​​making monkeys with the criminal simplicities that the story uses. It’s one thing to play around with the genre formula to create something unique, but it’s another to grab the wheel and speed off a cliff into unpredictability. If “South of Heaven” wants to be violently graphic and unpredictable, it should at least have tried a bit of class and wit rather than smashing the viewer’s faces with a metaphorical hammer. I really wish I could articulate this through examples, but then it would spoil the boredom of the movie.

At first, the movie establishes a sweet and healthy relationship between Jimmy and Annie, but as time goes on, you can’t help but wonder if Annie is simply stuck due to her lethal diagnosis. Maybe it’s two weird ducks making it tick, but watching Jimmy go from a very nice and nice man to an ’80s action star in the middle of a ruckus is hardly credible or enjoyable. I couldn’t tell if he should be upset that the movie wasted everyone’s time or he just wanted us to remove our sensitivity of wanting to please the character and just cheer up the wildly irrational person that Jimmy is or has become. That’s something else, you never know if Jimmy has always had sociopathic tendencies or if “love” did this to him. However, I am going to err on the side of caution. “South of Heaven” had a loaded gun ready to blow up to the public, but instead loaded that gun with spotlights.

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