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Case Number 11217

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Genius Products // 2002 // 110 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Dylan Charles (Retired) // April 18th, 2007

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All Rise...

Coastlines are like Judge Dylan Charles: long, wavy, and a little too salty for comfort.

The Charge

Love knows its true strength only when it's tested.

Opening Statement

I like movies that amble, letting you get to know the characters, who they are and where they're from. And not with exaggerated, hyperbolic feats of heroism, but just in their day-to-day lives. Coastlines is one of those movies.

Facts of the Case

Sonny Mann (Timothy Olyphant) is released from prison after a three year stretch and returns home. He has all the troubles of anyone trying to adjust to their old life after being imprisoned. He wants payment for the last job he pulled for Fred Vance (William Forsythe) and Eddy Vance (Josh Lucas), small time gangsters in this small Florida town. They, of course, are not willing to part with the money.

He's also falling hard and fast for his best friend's wife, Ann (Sarah Wynter). Oh, and his best friend Dave (Josh Brolin) is a deputy working for the local Sheriff's department. Trouble is brewing.

The Evidence

Coastlines meanders, winding its way from Point A to Point B. It doesn't hurry itself along, nor does it feel the need to pass along its message in large, explosive ways. Coastlines hangs out in repair garages and around the supper table. Maybe it'll swing down by the bar and get a drink or two.

This isn't to say there's not action. Sonny gets into a fair amount of fisticuffs and there are two (2) explosions. But things bein' blown up real good isn't what Coastlines is about.

Coastlines is about adapting and adjusting. Dave and Ann are too embedded in their lives. Meanwhile Sonny has no real place to call his own. He's been in prison, he has no job, his Pa is obviously wary of his reckless son, and his friends have become firmly ensconced in their lives during his absence. He is disjointed and out of place and, as a result, his very presence has a jarring effect on the lives of Dave and Ann.

Olyphant gives Sonny an edge without taking away from his warmth and laid back nature. It's easy to see why he's so well liked by those who know him best and why the Vances want to either get on his good side or get rid of him. One minute he's trading threats (and blows) with Josh Lucas and in the next, he's playing with Dan's kids. Josh Brolin and Sarah Wynter are there, they do their part, but they don't jump out.

Nothing in particular jumps out, though. Everything is underplayed and there's a subtlety to the whole business (except for the Vances, who provide the action). In all honesty, I could have done without the Vances and their criminal dealings with Sonny. The movie is too long and unfocused. There's Plot A which deals with Sonny, Dave and Ann, and then there's the secondary plot with Sonny and the thugs blowing things up. The secondary storyline could have been snipped, leaving behind a tighter, more focused movie about three people trying to get along in a small Southern town.

The commentary features the director, Victor Nunez. He mainly analyzes the plot and tells a lot about the story and the motivations of the characters. It's fairly fitting commentary for Coastlines and if you like the movie, you'll like the commentary too.

The only other feature is a deleted scene (also with commentary by the director), it's brief and it's inclusion or exclusion wouldn't have had much impact on the movie.

Closing Statement

Coastlines meanders; a slow, winding river of a film. There's a lot to like here, but it drags in parts and it goes on for too long. Nonetheless, if you have the patience and you like your movies to take it slow, then you might find something to like.

The Verdict

Coastlines is found guilty of driving too slow in the fast lane, but is pardoned for the places it took the Judge.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 90
Audio: 90
Extras: 80
Acting: 90
Story: 80
Judgment: 80

Perp Profile

Studio: Genius Products
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• English
• Spanish
Running Time: 110 Minutes
Release Year: 2002
MPAA Rating: Rated R
• Drama

Distinguishing Marks

• Feature Commentary with Director Victor Nunez
• Deleted Scene


• IMDb
• Official Site

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