THE MOTEL LIFE (2013)

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Starring: Emile Hirsch, Stephen Dorff, Dakota Fanning and Kris Kristofferson

Directed by: Alan and Gabe Polsky

Synopsis: A pair of working-class brothers flee their Reno Motel after getting involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident.

I watched this film last night and was pleasantly surprised. I have no idea if this was released in the cinema at the time, or went straight to DVD. I wouldn’t of thought it did much box office if it was released. That’s not to say it’s without merit though.

Based on a novel by Richmond Fontaine singer and songwriter Willy Vlautin, this is a prime piece of Americana storytelling, much like his songs. It is, as the title suggests, a story about down and out ne’er do wells, escaping on the road, pitching up at motels, fighting for their lives amid squalor and misfortune. The brothers Flannigan are played by Emile Hirsch (Frank) and Stephen Dorff (Jerry Lee) and they both put in a pretty decent shift. Side players include Franks ex love Dakota Fanning (I haven’t seen her in a movie in about 10 years so was amazed it was her) and Kris Kristofferson looking old and haggard (his eyes are nearly totally closed up now!) as well as Franks old pals.  Hirsch does a good job, Dorff, as the crippled Jerry Lee seemed a bit melodramatic in places in my opinion, but not enough to detract from the film. There were some parts with some animation in it, which didn’t seem out of place with the rest of the film, which actually kind of felt like a novel to me. The film has been likened to a modern version of Midnight Cowboy, and I can see similarities, although obviously it isn’t quite in the same league as that film.

This was overall a pleasant surprise for me, so with that in mind I would rate this film:

3.5 clappers

Oh, and if you read my post of yesterday you will know that the film inspired me to listen to the Richmond Fontaine album Thirteen Cities in bed last night. I said I would review it and I will. I got to track 6 before drifting off to sleep (due to tiredeness, not the music being boring) and what I heard up to that point I thought was good. Wordy Americana, with the usual pedal steel and horns etc. Another 7.5/10 for the album!

About thomasjford

I like Movies and Music and most things popular culture.

4 comments

  1. Sounds like a pretty good, though not great, film. I liked Midnight Cowboy too, when I watched it about a decade ago. And yes, I haven’t seen Dakota Fanning in a movie for quite sometime now. Nice review.

  2. Pingback: BEST FILMS THAT I SAW IN 2013 | MOVIES & MUSIC CAFE

  3. Pingback: THIRTEEN CITIES – RICHMOND FONTAINE (2007) | MOVIES & MUSIC CAFE

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