Spanish Director Gonzalo Lopez Gallego has only helmed a handful of Hollywood films in his career. The Hollow Point is proof though that given a solid cast, a taut narrative and all the tools necessary to create some gritty action sequences, the man can hang with the best of his American cohorts.
The Hollow Point follows Sheriff Wallace (Patrick Wilson) who has returned to his small hometown on the Mexico/USA border after the only cop in town Leland, (Ian McShane) is stood down for his volatile behavior.
Wallace is tasked with investigating a cross-border ammunition run that went horribly wrong and leaves Atticus (John Leguizamo), a hitman for The Cartel with the job of killing anyone with ties to the bungled operation.
Nils Lyew’s debut script is solid work, juggling twists, turns and tension in an otherwise formulaic plot. Things get progressively more sinister and characters are granted more importance as time wears on. There is a theme underpinning the film too, painting the small town as a dead end, a destitute place where all hope is essentially squashed. There is obvious dialogue that reaffirms it, but there are small things too like it’s broken, sleazy characters that all but confirm that this is a place you would never go to live.
What really bolsters The Hollow Point though is its cast. Patrick Wilson puts on a clinic, harbouring restrained anger and a hardened exterior but amongst the right people, like former sweetheart Marla (Lynn Collins) lets his guard down and displays empathy. He’s always been reliable but his acting chops are really on show here.
John Leguizamo turns in an unfamiliar role – malevolent and quiet to a point of eeriness while Jim Belushi scarily plays a scumbag car salesman to a tee. He is utterly detestable and it’s a treat to watch.
Ian McShane though was a stand out for me. I don’t know if he got the best dialogue or he just delivers in it way that yells “veteran”, but the mixture of his unique voice and the impeccable way in which he carries himself is almost entrancing.
Suspense and violence are thrown in the mix too, working in tandem with the fantastic acting, heightening the already dramatic atmosphere. Once scene in particular sees Wallace trying to gain information while indiscriminately aiming a shotgun at a couple. It’s gripping and Wilson crushes the scene, stripping it of any predictability.
In fact, a lot of the violence is quite abrupt and unexpected too so The Hollow Point doesn’t suffer from being cliche.
Gallego has directed The Hollow Point perfectly. It isn’t flashy or OTT. It’s just right – a perfect blend of suspense filled drama and short bursts of action, all amplified by some outstanding acting and an overwhelming sense of hopelessness that you just want these people to escape. If nothing else, Ian McShane and Patrick Wilson absolutely honing their craft is worth the price of admission alone.
Review Score: FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
The Hollow Point screened as part of Monster Fest in Melbourne and will be available on DVD & Blu-Ray on January 4th, 2017.