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'Big Sky' is a big void where a thriller could have been

'Big Sky' is a big void where a thriller could have been
Kyra Sedgwick stars in the film "Big Sky." (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

A promising setup is left to wither in the intense Albuquerque sun permeating "Big Sky," a slack agoraphobic thriller marking the English-language debut of Mexican filmmaker Jorge Michel Grau.

Bella Thorne heads a squandered cast, playing the role of a teenager en route to a treatment facility for her paralyzing fear of open places, when the van transporting her and her mom (Kyra Sedgwick) is attacked by gunmen, leaving the young woman to fend for herself in the middle of nowhere.

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So far, so good, but, unfortunately that's about as good as this film gets.

Armed with a flimsy, barely there script credited to Evan M. Wiener and a shakier, predominantly hand-held camera, director Grau seems to be making up the film as he goes along — never a good idea when tackling the sort of genre piece that requires building tension and some semblance of dread to succeed.

In that absence, Thorne, Sedgwick and proven actors including Aaron Tveit and Frank Grillo have precious little to do here other than take turns talking to themselves or looking rather dazed and confused out in the elements.

Perhaps they were all victims of dehydration, but whatever the case, "Big Sky" emerges as a tedious waste of space.

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"Big Sky."

No MPAA rating.

Running time: 1 hour, 36 minutes.

Playing: Arena Cinema, Hollywood.

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