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The pitfalls of Ray Liotta posing as a believable psychiatrist is the least of this crime drama's problems....
Image / 100 Minutes / 2012 / Rated R / Street Date: March 12, 2013
Bad men do bad things in Waymon Boone’s The Devil’s in the Details, but it’s not clear exactly why they feel such a compelling need to do so. This is familiar genre territory – one gets the feeling that Boone wants his film to be Reservoir Dogs as seen through the prism of The Hurt Locker – but the torture and innate violence that appears in nearly every sequence of his film seems unnecessary and entirely gratuitous: it’s as though he wants both his characters and his audience to suffer for no apparent reason.
Thomas (Joel Matthews) is our troubled protagonist, a veteran recently returned home who not only has issues with his wife and kid, but also with certain illegal substances. But even after spending some time in rehab, he can’t crawl out of the rut he’s found himself in: a nasty-ass dude named Bill (Emilio Rivera) decides to kidnap and torture Thomas until he convinces him to help him out with a surprisingly elaborate (and dramatically complicated) drug exchange.
Told in flashback-within-flashback mode using Thomas’ trips to his psychiatrist’s (Ray Liotta’s) office as buffers, The Devil’s in the Details is a mess. It’s probably put together more assuredly than it seems upon first viewing, but Boone makes a paper-thin case for the often odious characters he concocts in his bloody drama. It’s a fine line between creating complicated, deeply flawed characters and those that are just outright a-holes, and that’s a big hang-up here. We get why these characters do what they do, but we don’t necessarily care all that much about it.