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Review: Revenge tale ‘Rattlesnakes’ aspires to neo-noir, but is simply a grind

Jimmy Jean-Louis in a scene from “Rattlesnakes.” Credit: Michael Moriatis/Kew Media Group
Jimmy Jean-Louis in the movie “Rattlesnakes.”
(Kew Media Group)

Revenge drives the grimy, grim thriller “Rattlesnakes,” but it’s impossible for the audience to pick a side. When three men (Jack Coleman, Jay Acovone and Christian Oliver) think that Robert McQueen (Jimmy Jean-Louis, “Toussaint Louverture,” “Heroes Reborn”) is sleeping with their wives, they seek retribution — and take McQueen hostage.

They interrogate and torture the man they suspect of ruining their relationships, and soon learn secrets about McQueen, their marriages and one another. The actions of the night quickly get out of hand, but it doesn’t end quickly enough for the audience.

Based on Graham Farrow’s stage play, the adaptation from writer-director Julius Amedume doesn’t feel constrained by its location and goes beyond its theatrical roots. However, we’re still bound to spend almost 90 minutes with these characters who we neither like nor find compelling.

Amedume’s world is an ugly one, filled with hastily sketched men and a few even flimsier women. Theoretically, this is a character-driven film, but there’s little depth in either the script or the performances. Its plot reveals twist after twist, but none of them feels especially revelatory.

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“Rattlesnakes” imagines itself as a neo-noir, but that genre is more evident in its themes of revenge and ambiguous characters rather than in its nondescript style. This is a bland, unpleasant watch, all set to an equally grinding score.

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‘Rattlesnakes’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 25 minutes

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Playing: Starts April 26, Downtown Independent, Los Angeles

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