Arriving on Blu-ray this week is director Aharon Keshales’ crime-drama South of Heaven, starring Jason Sudeikis, Evangeline Lilly, Mike Colter and Shea Whigham.
Convicted felon Jimmy Ray (Sudeikis) has just been released from prison and is now on parole, and all he wants to do is be there for his wife Annie (Lilly), who is dying from cancer. Jimmy also plans to keep his nose clean by working hard at his new job, as-well-as cutting off his friendships with any former associates.
Unfortunately for Jimmy, his slimy parole officer, Mr. Schmidt (Whigham), won’t let him be the man he wants to be. You see, Schmidt likes to blackmail his convicts into transporting drug money for him and see’s Jimmy as the perfect courier. To make matters worse, Jimmy gets into an accident on the road on the way back from his first pick-up, which results in the death of a motorcycle driver. Out of fear of going back to prison, Jimmy and one of his old friends dispose of the body and bike in a junkyard.
What Jimmy is unaware of is that not only does the bike they buried have a location tracker, but in the wreckage, there was a whole lot of money that belonged to crime-boss Whit Price. Of course, Mr. Price and his goons come looking for the money and he tortures Jimmy’s friend Frank (Jeremy Bobb), until he gives up the info. Even though Jimmy has no clue about the money, Price kidnaps Annie and will only release her once Jimmy returns the money he doesn’t have. This leads to Jimmy kidnapping Whit’s son Tommy (Thaddeus J. Mixson) and as you can tell, things get more out of hand from there.
South of Heaven is an OK-at-best crime-drama that does have a few things going for it. First-of-all, I loved the relationship between Jimmy and Annie. We feel bad for their situation. Jimmy spent years away from her in prison and now that he is out, the powers that be are making it impossible for him to spend what little time is left with her before she passes. Jimmy’s criminal past is even something he did out of love for his wife and wasn’t really a part of who he was. Colter also plays a bad guy who is not so one dimensional. He is a family man as well and can relate to Jimmy and Anne’s story. The two have a very civil and understanding conversation, even though she is being held against her will. The rest of the film is pretty much paint-by-numbers with little surprises. I guess adding a little heart to the narrative can go a long way. While I can’t say I loved South of Heaven, I will say its’ worth a watch if you are a fan of the cast.
By: Marc Ferman