Palmetto

Take one resentful reporter named Harry Barber (Woody Harrelson), who's just spent two years in jail on a trumped-up charge. Add a greedy, slutty schemer named Rhea (Elisabeth Shue), her underage sexpot of a stepdaughter, Odette (Chloe Sevigny), and a rich old man who happens to be Rhea's husband and Odette's dad. Now concoct a ludicrous fake kidnapping...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Take one resentful reporter named Harry Barber (Woody Harrelson), who's just spent two years in jail on a trumped-up charge. Add a greedy, slutty schemer named Rhea (Elisabeth Shue), her underage sexpot of a stepdaughter, Odette (Chloe Sevigny), and a rich old man who happens to be Rhea's husband and Odette's dad. Now concoct a ludicrous fake kidnapping plan that requires Harry to make some threatening phone calls and pick up a briefcase full of cash. Do you suppose this all goes smoothly, or do you imagine that somehow Harry finds his neck in an ever-tightening noose without the slightest idea how it got there? Based on the novel Just Another Sucker by James Hadley Chase (who also penned the book on which the recent ROUGH MAGIC was adapted), this neo-noir pastiche is so preposterously overwrought that you keep figuring it must be some kind of joke, except that it's not funny. The performances are mind-bogglingly mannered, the dialogue is artificial and the 50-year-old plot contrivances could have used some updating that they didn't get at the hands of screenwriter E. Max Frye. What was the esteemed Volker Schlondorff thinking?

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  • Released: 1998
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Take one resentful reporter named Harry Barber (Woody Harrelson), who's just spent two years in jail on a trumped-up charge. Add a greedy, slutty schemer named Rhea (Elisabeth Shue), her underage sexpot of a stepdaughter, Odette (Chloe Sevigny), and a rich… (more)

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