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LaRoy, Texas Review | A Must-See Thriller with a Superb Cast


LaRoy, Texas Review | A Must-See Thriller with a Superb Cast


Summary

  • Excellent performances by all the actors elevate this darkly funny and thrilling cat-and-mouse game.
  • A phenomenal opening scene sets the stage for unexpected twists in this must-see neo-noir comedy.
  • Dylan Baker stuns as a calculating killer in a story that goes from funny to gasp-inducing.



A meek hardware shop owner impersonates a hit man after learning his duplicitous wife has been having an affair. LaRoy, Texas channels the Coen brothers’ Blood Simple and Fargo in a hilarious black comedy thriller with disturbing and tragic twists. Hollywood veterans John Magaro, Steve Zahn, and a terrifying Dylan Baker are superb in a film that continually surprises. You’re hooked from the start as a seemingly innocuous beginning goes in a truly unexpected direction. LaRoy, Texas is a must-see and one of the year’s best films to date.


The film also has one of the best opening scenes in recent memory which we won’t spoil here; suffice it to say, a hit man is headed to LaRoy, Texas. The following day, Ray (John Magaro) arrives at the town’s diner with a perplexed look. He sees Skip (Steve Zahn), a former high school acquaintance and now a self-styled private investigator who dresses like a “Howdy Doody cowboy,” waiting in a booth.

Ray doesn’t have a clue why Skip wants to see him after all these years. He’s devastated when the chipper and eternally upbeat Skip delivers shocking news. While surveilling a seedy motel for a client, Skip noticed Ray’s wife, Stacy-Lynn (Megan Stevenson), slinking into a room with a mischievous look. He gives Ray pictures as proof.


Two Underdogs Get Involved in a Violent Mystery

LaRoy, Texas

LaRoy, Texas (2024)

4.5/5

Release Date
April 12, 2024

Director
Shane Atkinson

Runtime
112 Minutes

Writers
Shane Atkinson

Studio(s)
Adastra Films , FLOTE Entertainment

Distributor(s)
Brainstorm Media

Pros

  • Excellent performances, especially from Dylan Baker.
  • A darkly funny movie that becomes a thrilling game of cat and mouse.
  • A phenomenal opening scene and excellent direction.


Ray curses Skip for not minding his own business. He didn’t hire him. Why did he feel inclined to butt into Ray’s life? He storms out of the diner disgusted and heartbroken. Later that night at home, Ray asks Stacy-Lynn, wearing a fetching red dress, where she’s going. Stacy-Lynn’s seeing a movie with a friend, but can’t quite remember which one. Ray, depressed and borderline suicidal, goes to the motel parking lot to see the awful truth for himself. He’s utterly stupefied when a random stranger (Brannon Cross) jumps into his car with an envelope of cash and an address. Kill the man there as agreed and the rest of the money will be promptly delivered.


Writer/director Shane Atkinson is near flawless in his feature film debut. He captures lightning in a bottle with the perfect cast for his fantastic script. Every character has a different motivation that shifts the narrative in unforeseen ways. Ray has been a pushover his entire life. No one respects or takes him seriously. He’s always played second fiddle to his handsome and outgoing older brother, Junior (Matthew Del Negro). Skip has the same problem as the brunt of cruel practical jokes from bullies at the local police department. They’re both just trying to prove themselves. The poop storm that Ray accidentally stirs up gives him the perfect opportunity.

Related

17 Coolest Movies with Hitmen and Assassins, Ranked

There is something slick and intriguing about the ethically ambivalent hitman, which makes assassins utterly magnetic in the history of movies.

LaRoy, Texas doesn’t mock Ray and Skip or treat them as losers. You actually empathize with their perennial underdog status. These are the guys that just can’t catch a break. Their banding together on the winding mystery that follows seems like a good development. The unfortunate problem is that Ray adores Stacy-Lynn despite her terrible treatment of him. She continually reminds everyone of her past glory as a beauty queen. Ray considers himself lucky and unworthy of getting such a prize. A confounded Skip tries to open his eyes but Ray trudges on willfully with blinders. He’ll do anything to show Stacy-Lynn that she married the right man and doesn’t need to stray.


Dylan Baker Stuns as a Calculating Killer

LaRoy, Texas is like a slapstick version of No Country for Old Men. It tickles your funny bone until the darker elements take hold. Laughter turns to gasps as a wolf in sheep’s clothing makes his formidable presence felt. Dylan Baker steals the show in one of the best performances of his illustrious 40-year career. Harry looks like the guy you’d buy insurance from. His benign exterior masks a cold and calculating killer who’s astonishingly formidable.

Harry isn’t an unbridled sociopath on a rampage, though. He had a job to do and won’t be deterred from his mission as a principled professional. Ray’s foolish impersonation of him cannot be allowed. You can’t steal from Harry without paying a significant price. Dylan will send shivers down your spine.


Related: Best Thrillers With a Cat and Mouse Pursuit

The cat and mouse game between Harry, Ray, and Skip is fascinating to behold. The film’s elaborate plot swirls with lies and villainy from every corner. Each character wants to accomplish something that’s just out of reach. Their efforts to take that next step push the goal that much further. This leads to catastrophic and bloody results. LaRoy, Texas hits hard in a third act that gets downright ugly. You can only play with fire for so long without getting burned.

LaRoy, Texas is a production of Orogen Entertainment, The Exchange, Needle’s Eye Productions, and Ellly Films, et al. It will have a concurrent theatrical and VOD release on April 12th from Brainstorm Media. You can watch the trailer below.


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