Having seen the trailer before viewing the feature, it really came as no surprise that Hick seems slightly unsure of what genre it really is. Elements of coming-of-age, melodrama, thriller, and the on-the-run-crime genre all exist, but none really have an overriding sense, throwing the viewer into a perpetual state of unknowingness and confusion. What is worse is that it does not take long to not care.
Hick begins unsurprisingly in a southern town. Luli (Chloe Grace Moretz) has two loser parents who are not able to sufficiently care for her. The solution? Runaway. Right after Joan Jett plays too. Talk about creating a sense of rebellion! Upon her onward travels to Vegas (where all the Showgirls-archetypal protagonists seem to head), Luli comes across the limping, cowboy hat wearing Eddie (Eddie Redmayne) and Glenda, a woman who can boast the skill of standing while urinating (Blake Lively). From here on out, several confusing events occur where Luli is temporarily thrown into a con-artist/grifter operation. If that weren’t enough, a murder, rape, and abduction then fills the over-the-top drama quotient with lifeless gusto.
It is rather unclear what director Derek Martini and screenwriter Andrea Portes (adapting her novel to the big screen) are trying to say with Hick. Though any desires to uncover these mysteries is lost with horribly lacklustre characters. The dialogue is simply shocking in parts, lead by some sub-par performances from mediocre actors (Lively, Moretz), as well as some disappointing appearances from good actors (Redmayne, and Alec Baldwin in a very small last minute role).
Some positives can be acknowledged, primarily cinematographer Frank Godwin’s golden dusk shots in the beginning of the film, and a two-minute scene with Juliette Lewis, playing Luli’s drunken redneck mother. Yes, it is not enough to sustain interest, or enjoyment of the film, but Lewis typically chews the life out of any scene that she finds herself in, let alone when cast with an affliction.
Riddled with clichés, an annoying “wise” narration voiceover, and characters you could not give a shit about, Hick bores with its predictably early Bob Dylan/Patsy Cline soundtrack. A clearer sense of direction was needed along with a script that could have gone through at least another five treatments. Instead, Hick was made (and sent straight to DVD in Australia) where storylines and characters change motive and direction faster than an out of control Japanese bullet train. You have been warned.
Hick is out on DVD in Australia from 26 September through Transmission Films.