First Snow

Clichés of doom catch up with Guy Pearce.

Destiny is as loophole-free as an IRS audit in this appointment-in-Samarra yarn from Children of Men screenwriters Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby, in which cocky salesman Jimmy Starks (Guy Pearce) risks the love of his doting girlfriend (Piper Perabo), not to mention his life and sanity, to avoid a fortune teller's ominous reading. The presence of Memento's Pearce, the poster boy for narrative dislocation, would seem to herald yet another gimmicky puzzle movie about the interconnectedness of every speck of dust and the hair-trigger whims of the space-time continuum. But first-time director Fergus' film is more a moody, tedious anti-thriller about ineluctable fate, keyed to the hero's dawning acceptance of an inverted bumper-sticker truism: "You die, but life doesn't have to be a bitch." Speaking of fate, is it written somewhere that every indie quasi-noir must include a dripping faucet, ceiling fans, shadows of slatted blinds, and a traveling shot of highway lines? As surely as Fergus' establishing shot of the desert must begin with a tumbleweed.

 
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