That Evening Sun
First-time writer-director Scott Teems has given 84-year-old master actor Hal Holbrook a dream role in Abner Meecham, a Tennessean who walks out of a nursing home and returns to the remote farm where he spent his life. On arrival, Meecham discovers that his son (Walton Goggins) has rented the place to a local bad apple named Lonzo Choat (Ray McKinnon) and his family. Furious, Abner takes up residence in a run-down cabin near the main house, triggering a volatile feud between the two men. An old-world Southerner, Abner is unforgiving of weakness — and of Lonzo, an often despicable character for whom McKinnon, in a charged performance, generates a surprising degree of empathy. The beauty of Holbrook’s work here lies in his refusal to soften the character’s hard edges. Regrettably, Teems’ choices in the film’s homestretch waste that discipline: More than once, the director inserts a flashback to a tender moment between the farmer and his late wife (Dixie Carter) that not only extends an already overlong movie but also fatally undercuts the artful rigor of its leading man.