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Review: L.A. lawyer finds redemption in ‘Texas Heart’

“Texas Heart”
Erik Fellows stars in the movie “Texas Heart.”
(Indie Rights)

Despite an often jury-rigged narrative saddled with a few too many clichés, the redemption drama “Texas Heart,” shot and directed by Mark David from a script by Daniel Blake Smith and Nick Feild, is an involving, largely likable film with a sincere emotional core. 

Erik Fellows brings movie-star charisma to his role as Peter, an opportunistic lawyer who runs afoul of a ruthless crime boss (a scenery-chewing Lin Shaye). Fearing for his life, he escapes Los Angeles and lands in an unlikely hideaway: the tiny backwoods burg of Juniper, Texas.

The Gucci-shoed, fish-out-of-water Peter raises eyebrows as he moves into a dumpy rental and pretends to be a wandering novelist named Frank. Small towns being what they are, there’s plenty of soap opera to be had, including tales of murder-suicide, desperate single parents, antsy teens, football heroes, drug and alcohol issues and loose-lipped locals.

As Peter/Frank maintains his low profile, he befriends Tiger (Cam Dabrowski) a mentally challenged young man who, in a less-than-convincing turn, is accused of killing a missing homecoming queen (Daniela Bobadilla). Ready to do some good, Peter defends Tiger in court, even if it means attracting the attention of the mobsters who still want Peter dead.

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The various story strands come crashing together in ways that are both beyond belief and strangely satisfying. A collection of down-home types, including a grizzled John Savage, effectively portray the Juniper denizens, despite being stuck spouting their share of “over yonders” and “I reckons.” 

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‘Texas Heart’

Not rated

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Running time: 1 hour, 44 minutes

Playing: Arena Cinema, Hollywood


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