Dallas 362 (tbc)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner21/10/2003

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 95 mins

Impressive directorial debut from Scott ‘Son of James’ Caan – with a good script, likeable characters and great performances, this is an enjoyable film that marks Caan out as a talent to watch.

If you’re a regular moviegoer, you may or may not remember Scott Caan from such films as Gone In 60 Seconds, Boiler Room and Ocean’s Eleven. Certainly, up until this point, he hadn’t really established much of a reputation for himself beyond ‘Good-looking kid, son of James Caan, plays a lot of knuckle-heads’.

So it comes as something of a surprise to discover that he’s the talented writer and director behind Dallas 362, a smalltown drama about friendship, boredom and dreams.

Bar Room Brawling And Police

Shawn Hatosy stars as Rusty, a well-meaning young man in a small L.A. town, whose day to day life seems to consist of bar-room brawls and getting bailed out of police stations, thanks to his loyal but trouble-magnet best friend Dallas (Scott Caan).

Exasperated, his widowed mother, Mary (Kelly Lynch) sends Rusty to see Bob (Jeff Goldblum), her new therapist boyfriend and Rusty reveals that his long-held dream is to follow in his deceased father’s footsteps as a rodeo rider, something he knows his mother is dead against as she’s afraid of losing him the same way. Meanwhile, Dallas has stumbled upon a Get Rich Quick scheme for which he needs Rusty’s help…

Unusual Lack Of Conflict The script is impressively mature and deftly avoids making clichés out of its characters. Rusty is both extremely relaxed and well-adjusted, held back only by his loyalty to his friend and his desire not to upset his mother. His scenes with Goldblum are a delight – it’s unusual to see a film like this in which the lead character doesn’t have any actual conflict with anyone.

Hatosy is excellent as Rusty and Caan has generously given him the best part of his career so far (he usually plays idiots). There’s also strong support from Caan (in an equally likeable performance), Goldblum (excellent as always, but reigning in the weirdness for once) and Kelly Lynch.

In addition there are cameos from Selma Blair, Isla Fisher and Freddy Rodriguez (Rico from Six Feet Under), as well as a scene-stealing performance of presumably deliberate Dustin Hoffman-like intensity by newcomer Val Lauren, as Dallas’ ultra-neurotic partner-in-crime. (Apparently a cameo by Scott’s Dad James ended up on the cutting room floor).

In short, this is an enjoyable, refreshingly original indie buddy movie that marks the emergence of a new directorial talent. Here’s hoping Scott Caan decides to write and direct more movies like this. Recommended.

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Content updated: 19/08/2018 12:45

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