Dead For A Dollar Review – Engrossing, Absorbing, Strong Performances

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Dead for a Dollar, from Quiver Distribution, presents an uncommon story of courage, determination, money, vengeance, and the willingness to risk everything to live without restraint of another's rules and to enact charge no matter the price.

 

The film begins with a confrontation between Max Borlund, played by Christoph Waltz, and prison inmate Joe Cribbons, played by Willem Defoe. The pair, polar opposites, square off on the future, each explaining what they will guarantee as an end should they cross paths again.


 

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We understand Max Borland is a bounty hunter, and through a recommendation he is hired to track and find a woman, Rachel Kidd, played by Rachel Brosnahan, and Buffalo Solider Elijah Jones, played by Brandon Scott. Her husband, Mr. Kidd, played by Hamish Linklater explains she has run off with a black man, an army deserter.

Borlund explains he will need a packed mule and a man, Sergeant Poe, played by Warren Burke is volunteered, to help cover the rugged and desolate terrain between Albuquerque and south into Mexico. As the pair progress into no man's land, they are met with a band of Mexican outlaws led by Tiberio Vargas, played by Benjamin Bratt. As we understand he is notoriously ruthless.

As neither Borlund nor Vargas budge in this war of words and intimidation, they each go their own way. Soon, Borlund enters the cabin where the two runaways are hold up. The expectation is that the ransom money will be enough to secure safe passage for the pair. However, as self is the law of the land, the gracious host has decided he wants a cut of the ransom, and as he owes Tiberio Vargas for it, he feels it is fair and just, and explains he is not afraid to kill the woman.


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In a flash, the house is overtaken, and as it is in these types of films, the circle of characters begins to narrow, and the cabin owner is shot dead. Soon, Rachel is riding back what she has explained is a sure death. Her husband, she explains, will kill her when she is returned.

Even before confronted with a life and death negotiation with the bounty hunter who can only be persuaded by the dollar, we understand she is educated and well spoken. Her truth is very real to her.

With it being the old west, he who delivers the most fear is king, and Tiberio Vargus rules this side of the U.S. border with fear, intimidation, extortion, and murder.

As all converge on a small town, south of the border, Mexican law is the rule and suddenly there seems to be only one conclusion.


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Dead for a Dollar is an absorbing, dramatic, action thriller. Throughout the film there are unusual plot twists that the audience will not see coming, and are surprising, and tend to throw off moviegoers who are often well versed and the harshest critics.

The ensemble of award winning and seasoned talent captures the essence of the characters. There were some moments that it felt like the dialogue was a bit contemporary for the times, which had me wondering if underneath the surface there were attempts at creating a parody. Although the talent remained true to the period and characters.

An uncommon kind of thriller, Dead For a Dollar is in theaters September 30, 2022. See it.


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Country: U.S.

Language: English, with some Spanish in English subtitles.

Runtime: 114minutes.

Release Date: September 30, 2022.

Director: Walter Hill.

Producer: Kirk D'Amico, Neil Dunn, Berry Meyerowitz, Jeff Sackman, Jeremy Wall.

Writer: Matt Harris, Walter Hill.

Cast: Christoph Waltz, Willem Dafoe, Rachel Brosnahan, Warren Burke, Benjamin Bratt, Guy Burnet, Brandon Scott, Gabriela Alicia Ortega, Scott Peat, Luis Chavez, Warren Burke, Diana Navarrete.

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