Mob Land (2023)

Content by Tony Macklin. Originally published on October 22, 2023 @

Mob Land is the indie from hell.

Set in Mississippi, it's the story of a small, rural community wracked with disease, drugs, and brutality. It's one of those films that it's hard to find anyone to root for. Even the would-be innocent get corrupted by forces beyond their control

It's nihilistic.

In the version I saw on Prime Video, the dialogue is not in sync with the mouth movements. That's a basic.

It should be unwatchable. What may be a saving grace is the performances. Give some credit to casting director Chadwick Struck.

The cast has three recognizable actors - John Travolta, Stephen Dorff, and Kevin Dillon.

Travolta is convincing as the sheriff, and Dillon plays a Kevin Dillon role as a loser. The strongest and most memorable performance is by Stephen Dorff as a merciless hitman. He's the embodiment of nihilism, but he is able to render it human.

Dorff, who turned 50 in 2023, has vanished as a movie actor. He was one of three males in Blood and Wine (1976) with Jack Nicholson and Michael Caine, and he portrayed the 5th Beatle in Backbeat (1994).

In recent years, Dorff has starred in two major television shows. He was in the third season of True Detective on HBO (2019) with Mahershala Ali, and he was lead in Deputy (2020) on Fox.

But in Mob Land, Dorff shows he still has movie chops.

Shiloh Fernandez keeps up with the veteran actors in the lead role as the evolving Shelby, a young man trying to keep his family together

Director Nicholas Maggio has a sporadic vision, but he is a filmmaker with promise. He also wrote the screenplay with Rob Healy. It could use more clarity - especially with Shelby's Parkinson's.

A staple of Maggio's film is brutality. He does control this key element.

May he keep Dorff in his company.

© 2000-2023 Tony Macklin