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Palmetto

Starring: Woody Harrelson, Elisabeth Shue, Gina Gershon
Director: Volker Schlondorff
Genre: Thriller
Year: 1998
Rating: 3 / 5

Palmetto is a movie which greeted me with a variety of expectations, as every review I read had either pointed out Elisabeth Shue's shortcomings as a "bad girl," pitied the women in this movie who had to "play up" to Woody Harrelson, or decried this as a "would-be film noir." While this movie will not be confused with an Oscar contender next March, this movie proudly rose above its humble expectations.

Woody Harrelson plays a newspaper reporter in Palmetto, FL, a small Southern town if ever there was one. The movie opens with him being released from prison after serving two years for refusing to bow to political corruption. It seems Mr. Harrelson is the last bastion of integrity in this corner of the world. Waiting for him on the outside is his eternally-appealing girlfriend, played by Gina Gershon (of Bound and Showgirls fame). Also waiting for Mr. Harrelson is Elisabeth Shue, who has an interesting proposition for him, and this is where the fun begins...

What follows is an elaborate kidnapping ruse and some welcome comic turns by Mr. Harrelson, reminding us all that he once had us laughing every week as Woody Boyd on Cheers. In order not to devulge the film's many twists and turns, let me say that the movie will make you think, eternally guessing who does and who does not have secrets to keep. Those of you into cult heroes along the lines of Bill Paxton and Michael Biehn, look for Michael Rappaport, officially deemed the '90s cult anti-hero, in a supporting role.

All in all, Palmetto is a rather enjoyable two hours of film, despite initial reviews to the contrary. Palmetto - a great place to visit, but you would not want to live there.

Cast:

Woody Harrelson..........Harry Barber
Elisabeth Shue..........Rhea Malroux
Gina Gershon..........Nina
Michael Rappaport..........Mr. Donnely

Certification: R for sexuality, language, and violence.
Running Time: Unknown.

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[critics]