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.
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.”
Running time: 1 hour, 44 minutes
Playing: Arena Cinema, Hollywood