Don McKay

A janitor finds himself surrounded with odd behavior when he returns to his hometown after receiving a letter from his dying high school girlfriend.

Directed by Jake Goldberger

(R)

**

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For his debut, writer-director Jake Goldberger has attempted a feat that’s difficult for even the most experienced filmmaker to pull off, said Glenn Whipp in the Los Angeles Times. Don McKay aims to be a film noir laced with black comedy, but it “never quite settles into the rhythm” of either form. Thomas Haden Church stars as Don, a janitor who receives a desperate letter from his dying high school girlfriend, played by Elisabeth Shue. Upon returning to his hometown, he discovers nothing but suspicious and strange behavior. Everyone seems to be hiding something, but Goldberger never seems sure of what to reveal, said David Germain in the Associated Press. So he holds the secrets back until they “come in a torrent so rapid that the movie lapses into silliness.” Goldberger was inspired by the Coen brothers’ debut, Blood Simple, but his film lacks their savvy sense of tension. What he does display is an “appealingly skewed sense of humor,” said Elizabeth Weitzman in the New York Daily News. Don McKay delivers enough “unexpected moments and deadpan jokes to keep us hanging to the bitter end.”

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