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Review: Nice turn by Dylan McDermott wasted in dramatic thriller ‘Josie’

Sophie Turner in the movie "Josie."
(Screen Media Films)

Coming up short on tension and long on talky exposition, “Josie” emerges as a Southern-fried dramatic thriller that fails to deliver the pulpy goods despite a nicely rooted Dylan McDermott lead performance.

Veteran McDermott (“The Practice”) plays the soft-spoken Hank, a Texas transplant holed up alone at the Pink Motel, who, when not parked in his pickup near the local high school on the lookout for delinquents, finds companionship in the company of his tortoises, Neville and Francine.

That is until the arrival of Josie (Sophie Turner), a teen Lolita in cut-offs and fishnets who has moved into the unit next to him (there’s a vague explanation offered about her parents joining her at a later date) and systematically proceeds to attract his undivided attention.

He’s Damaged Goods. She’s Trouble with a Tattooed T. What could possibly go wrong?

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As directed by Eric England and written by Anthony Ragnone II, the answer to that question is revealed in a signaled, would-be shocker ending diminished by stiff dialogue and a plodding pace that appears to have taken its lead from Hank’s tortoises.

Although McDermott inhabits Hank with the haunted demeanor of a man forever tormented by his past transgressions, Turner (Sansa Stark on “Game of Thrones”) battles unsuccessfully to inject some dimension into someone who comes across more as a device than a living, breathing character.

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‘Josie’

Not rated

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Running time: 1 hour, 27 minutes

Playing: Laemmle Monica Film Center, Santa Monica

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