Time to begin the Hell’s Half Mile with the opening film of the fest, a dramatic murder mystery that may be a good movie hidden amongst some glaring issues.
“The Scent of Rain and Lightning” tells the tale of Jody, a woman dealing with the death of her parents as a child. We soon find out that the man convicted of the crime, Billy, is being released from prison on a technicality. It’s then that things begin to unravel in the small rural community and secrets are revealed that may prove the wrong man was sent to prison.
First the good. The lead actress Maika Monroe, who played Jody, was excellent. Actually, the acting across the board was pretty good. It’s what held this film together to the great last half hour. The reveal of who-done-it was very tense and actually got my heart racing quite a bit. Very surprised the ending was able to do this, however, considering I spent the first hour of the movie being two things: confused and more confused.
“Is that Billy or is that the bartender?” “Maybe it’s her brother?” “Oh, great! Another character with a beard who looks like the other three characters who have beards.” Also, this director must have watched plenty of Christopher Nolan movies because this movie has flashbacks. Lots and lots and lots and lots of flashbacks.
To top off the confusion most of the movie I had to guess the time period by the length of the actors beards. I’m not kidding.
I am giving this movie 3 out of 6 reels. Even though the multiple flashbacks and many similar appearing bearded characters soured my first viewing of this film I felt compelled to watch it again.
I feel this is because of the acting and the strong last scenes of the film. This may be a instance where multiple viewings could clear up these issues.