The bare bones thriller "First Kill" is a small-town crime noir informed by the themes and iconography of classic Westerns. Written by Nick Gordon and directed by Stephen C. Miller ("Extraction," "Marauders"), it's a tale of fathers, sons, shifting allegiances, bad guys who do good things and good guys who do bad.
Will finds that memories are long and personal histories deeply felt as he tangles with the town's Sheriff Howell (Bruce Willis) along the way.
"First Kill" features an efficient, lightning speed plot, hinting at altruistic motives for the crime spree. But the twisty, talky script by Gordon could have benefited from a "less is more" approach. Every character states their inner motivation out loud, often without prompting, making for a film that loses its intrigue almost immediately. Miller and Gordon appear more concerned with flipping character archetypes. Cops and robbers? You never know what to expect in "First Kill."
Running time: 1 hour, 37 minutes
Rating: R, for violence and language.
Playing: Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills