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Southern neo-noir 'The Hollow' wears out its welcome

Southern neo-noir 'The Hollow' wears out its welcome
Christiane Seidel in the movie "The Hollow." (Uncork'd Entertainment)

Writer-director-actor Miles Doleac's sprawling Southern-fried mystery "The Hollow" has the rich characters and milieu of a good literary novel, but never quite works as a movie. While the dialogue is colorful and the acting strong, this is ultimately a 90-minute neo-noir stretched unnecessarily past two hours.

Doleac stars as Ray Everett, a small-town Mississippi deputy who helps manage the local criminal enterprises under orders from an aristocratic kingpin played by William Forsythe, with the tacit approval of the sheriff (William Sadler). When a congressman’s daughter is murdered, two FBI agents (James Callis and Christian Seidel) arrive and threaten to put everyone out of business.

The passive-aggressive tussles between two law-enforcement agencies are the best part of "The Hollow." Mississippian Doleac understands the dynamics, language and religious convictions of the South — and how two D.C. outsiders would react to the regional peculiarities.

But the plot plods along too slowly, parceled out in one-on-one conversations where characters talk at length about pieces of their pasts that aren't really germane to the story — and aren't interesting enough in and of themselves to merit the digressions. The original capital crime and its political ramifications get lost in the process.

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Give Doleac credit for having the intelligence and ambition to make "The Hollow" more than just another sensationalistic potboiler filled with sex, drugs and violence. But a film this sordid shouldn't be so tedious.

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'The Hollow'

Not rated

Running time: 2 hours, 8 minutes

Playing: Monica Film Center, Santa Monica

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