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Week of October 15, 2003

Cohen and Tate. Eric Red. Two hitmen show up at an Oklahoma farmhouse, kill most of the people there (something about a witness relocation program -- ignore it because it won't come up again) and kidnap a small boy, planning to take him to their bosses in Houston. Once you get past the misstep of the prologue, the little-seen Cohen and Tate turns into a sleek, no-frills B-movie in the best sense. One killer (Roy Scheider) is unemotional and meticulous; his partner (Adam Baldwin) is younger and psychotic. As their journey begins to unravel, their young prisoner (Cooper Huckabee) plays on their weaknesses, pushing the film into a series of well-executed set-pieces that are simultaneously horrific and humane. Taking place entirely in one night, Eric Red's bleak variation on The Ransom of Red Chief is a three-character psychological thriller in the best noir tradition, using the dull landscape of truck stops and oil fields to create the same kind of hopeless terrain traveled in the minimalist films of Edgar Ulmer and Don Siegel. Screens at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 21, in the Lewis Room of the Fontbonne University Library. (Robert Hunt)

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