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The Independent Critic

Jody Thompson, Mark Ashworth, Leon Walton, Elizabeth Ehrig, Russell Durham Comegys
Kenneth Horstmann
94 Mins.

 "High Cotton" Screening at 2016 Indy Film Fest 
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A former Indiewire Project of the Month and winner of Best Feature and Best Actor prizes at Festival South Film Expo, writer/director Ken Horstmann's deep Southern drama High Cotton is currently screening in the American Spectrum block at the 2016 Indy Film Fest being held at the Indianapolis Museum of art through this weekend.

The film centers around two unlikely friends, Bulldog (Mark Ashworth) and Les (Jody Thompson). Bulldog is a Manchester, England transplant just released from prison after losing his wife, his company and his freedom when he assault her "beau." Les, on other hand, is a good ole' Southern boy who was also just released and seems simple but is both complex and rather repressed. The two head for the deep woods of rural Georgia, but when a dead woman shows up forces combine to make Les question his allegiance to Bulldog.

High Cotton is set in a desperate world with two main characters for whom desperation has become a way of life. The early part of High Cotton spends most of its time with Bulldog and Les adjusting to their newfound freedom, spending time in Bulldog's old pickup while crashing at an isolated cabin in the woods. Working with a local drug dealer (Leon Walton), the two distribute Oxycontin and just sort of hang around. As we've come to expect from these types of films, trouble is right around the corner and arrives courtesy of Bulldog's ex (Elizabeth Ehrig) and the aforementioned beau (Russell Durham Comegys). The action that follows sends Bulldog over the edge, but we learn that sometimes revenge isn't always so sweet.

High Cotton benefits greatly from the presence of both Ashworth and Thompson. Ashworth, soon to be seen in the Denzel Washington/Chris Pratt The Magnificent Seven remake, gives the impression of being the volatile one here and possesses a constant uneasiness that leaves you always wondering what he's going to do when he's on the screen. Thompson, who is in the upcoming Michael Keaton starrer The Founder, balances an aura of simplicity with a repressed volatility that makes his unpredictability captivating to watch. Together, they're one seriously volatile odd couple of sorts.

Jacob Fry's lensing is impressive, while Christian Wood's original music leans into the film's impulsive unpredictability. The film screened for the first time today here in Indy and has one more screening before the festival's end on July 21st at 9:15pm in the Toby Theatre. For more information, visit the Indy Film Fest website.

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic