Combustible Celluloid Review - Red Right Hand (2024), Jonathan Easley, Eshom Nelms, Ian Nelms, Orlando Bloom, Andie MacDowell, Garret Dillahunt, Scott Haze, Chapel Oaks, Brian Geraghty, James Lafferty, Jeremy Ratchford, Alexandra Park, Nicholas Logan, Mo McRae, Daniel David Stewart, Harrison Stone
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With: Orlando Bloom, Andie MacDowell, Garret Dillahunt, Scott Haze, Chapel Oaks, Brian Geraghty, James Lafferty, Jeremy Ratchford, Alexandra Park, Nicholas Logan, Mo McRae, Daniel David Stewart, Harrison Stone
Written by: Jonathan Easley
Directed by: Eshom Nelms, Ian Nelms
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 111
Date: 02/23/2024
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Red Right Hand (2024)

1 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Harm Animals

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

All of the characters and situations in Eshom and Ian Nelms's Red Right Hand are so crushingly familiar that they've worn a groove in the storytelling landscape; its extreme length and overt seriousness make things worse.

Cash (Orlando Bloom) is trying to atone for a dark past, working on his family farm with his widowed brother-in-law Finney (Scott Haze) and his niece Savannah (Chapel Oaks). Finney has not been taking the death of his wife, Cash's sister, well, and has been drinking too much.

Cash is enraged to discover that Finney has taken out a loan from the local crime boss, Big Cat (Andie MacDowell), which, in all likelihood, can never be paid back. Cash tries to set things right, and Big Cat promises to settle the debt if Cash will do three jobs for her. These involve drug deals and killings, but Cash goes through with them to the best of his ability. Even so, nothing turns out quite as he had hoped, so everything comes down to revenge, and an all-out attack on Big Cat's compound.

The heroes of Red Right Hand keep telling each other they're doing things for "God, family, survival," but it's more like "revenge, revenge, revenge." There's a big boss that controls everything in this small town, including the cops, although Andie MacDowell's cartoonishly vicious "Big Cat" has nothing on Marianne Jean-Baptiste's similar, sharper "Big Momma Sweet" in the recent Rumble Through the Dark.

And there's a hero, who is the only one who isn't under her thumb, until he is. It's somewhat aggravating how the characters go through the motions of this creaky story without fully comprehending exactly how everything is going to turn out, as we in the audience can.

The title is even more perplexing. It describes Cash's burned, scarred hand — we see him, in flashback, holding it over an open flame, for some reason — but it also references John Milton's Paradise Lost. A preacher (Garret Dillahunt) offers a closing sermon not from the Bible, but from Milton, talking about the virtues of Divine Vengeance.

Red Right Hand is certainly earnest and has a few committed performances, but it's ultimately more frustrating than satisfying.

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