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Director: Antonio Stutz
Runtime: 96 minutes
Rating: R
Cast: Josh Henderson, Haley Webb, Beau Bridges

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Rushlights stars Josh Henderson and Haley Webb as an unscrupulous young couple trying to pull off a seemingly simple con; all they have to do is drive to Texas, pass Webb off as a recently deceased acquaintance, collect an inheritance, and skip town before anyone gets wise. Of course, if the con really were that simple, there’d be no movie, so Henderson and Webb end up getting wrapped up in some predictable small-town intrigue involving Beau Bridges and Aidan Quinn—middle-aged brothers who are, respectively, the town’s sheriff and its top lawyer.

Unabashedly pulpy, Rushlights brings to mind the noir cheapies churned out by the studios of Hollywood’s Poverty Row in the early 1950s. It has a few of the better qualities of sub-B noir—above-average camerawork, a rogues gallery of bit players—and all of the flaws. It even has the sort of slipshod pacing—complete with abrupt, anticlimactic dissolves—that is usually associated with productions trying to conserve film stock.

Whatever pleasure could be derived from the movie’s generically twisty plotting is negated by cardboard characterization, indifferent editing rhythms, and a score that sounds like it was pulled from a production music library. Henderson and Webb are non-presences cast in roles that are less characters than collections of plot twists; because Rushlights spends so much time on two protagonists that nobody bothered to write or play, it ends up feeling overlong (even the blandest ’50s quickies at least had the virtue of only running an hour). As if to make up for the blandness, director/co-writer Antoni Stutz—whose only prior feature is the Traci Lords/Julie Bowen vehicle You’re Killing Me—throws in a lot affected violence; pseudo-shocking stranglings, stabbings, and bludgeonings are a regular occurrence. As a result, the movie resembles a flavorless meal doused with hot sauce.