Into the cheap DVD pile again and this one caught my eye. This film is a psychological thriller and though it doesn’t have a bright glossy look, loads of action or a huge budget it is a fairly decent low-key film with reasonable acting and an interesting storyline
Ben Garvey (Paul Walker) is a former thief just off of parole and making plans for his future with his wife Lisa (Piper Perabo) and daughter Katie. His brother Ricky comes to see him fresh out of jail and wants his help for another robbery. Ban refuses at first but when he loses his job he agrees out of desperation. The robbery goes tragically wrong and three men end up dead, including Ricky. This is Texas which means justice equals state-sanctioned vengeance and despite the fact that Ben didn’t kill anyone he gets a death sentence. With indecent haste Ben ends ups strapped to a bizarre cross-shaped thing being put to death with chemicals.
Next thing he’s hitching a ride from Father Ezra (Bob Gunton) to a psychiatric institute in Oregon where he is to start his new job as a grounds-keeper. He has vague memories of being brought here after his execution and told that he has been given a second chance but he must give up on his old life with Lisa and Katie. A mysterious man called Avery (Lambert Wilson) warns him the only death awaits him if he leaves this town. Ben does try to leave on a bus back to Texas but Avery gets on the bus and convinces him he’s in danger. He manages to convince Ben to get off the bus and when Ben sees the news the following day of a bus crash he thinks Avery was telling the truth.
Any more plot outline would have spoilers because this film has a few twists and turns after this. Like most psychological thrillers this film takes its time to develop the characters so it is fortunate the cast pull it off convincingly enough, especially Paul Walker. The story has a lot of red herrings and I was really expecting the plot to go some stupid way but it didn’t. Though I can’t say too much without revealing too much the ending was a little too pat and cliché. Still it did have few things on the subject of identity and responsibility for one’s actions. Julie Ingram a psychiatrist at the institute says to Ben at one point “There’s a struggle. How do you live if you’re ruled by your past? But, how do you let go of a past that made you?”