Billy and Sarah (Josh Henderson and Haley Webb) meet in the diner where Sarah works. They quickly fall in love—then, just as quickly, find a way to improve their lives through less-than-honest means. Sarah will pose as her roommate, who recently died of a heroin overdose, and whom Sarah looks exactly like, in order to collect a large inheritance from a distant relative. Their scheme leads them to a small town in Texas where everyone’s just a little bit off, and no one is what they seem. And, what’s supposed to be a couple of days of collecting the money and leaving turns into weeks of red tape and increasing desperation.
The film feels uncomfortable and even claustrophobic at times, as Billy and Sarah become more and more trapped by this tiny Texas town. At times you wonder if both of them may be driven to insanity by the end of the film, especially when they begin to turn on each other for lack of another outlet for their frustrations.
Both Henderson's and Webb’s performances seem a little one-note at times. But, the real meat in this film comes from the supporting performances. Beau Bridges and Aidan Quinn play two brothers with not much in common but a name. Bridges is the town’s abrasive hick sheriff, while Quinn is a slick, quick-witted attorney who seems friendly enough but is never entirely likeable. Add to that Crispian Belfrage as a psychotic British drug dealer who follows Billy and Sarah to Texas hoping for a piece of the action, and you’ve got a cast that’s solid and entertaining enough to hold the movie.
The film isn’t quite up to the quality level of True Romance or No Country for Old Men, but it’s a good film in its own right. The sense of discomfort felt in places in the film is no doubt intentional on the director’s part, a testament to his filmmaking skill. The plot, while familiar, still manages to provide a few surprises, and as a thriller, it has at least a few thrills. The film does seem to take itself too seriously in places, though, and could have benefited from a few well-placed doses of humor. Rather than take away from the claustrophobic effect of the film, it could have heightened it.
There will always be crime thrillers. There are plenty of other movies with desperate antiheroes and strange, somewhat creepy supporting characters. Rushlights isn’t treading any new ground here. But, what’s important isn’t the destination, but the journey. And, in Rushlights, that journey is fairly decent.