‘Mob Land’ Review: John Travolta Patrols an Indie Crime Drama That Is Strong on Atmosphere but Short on Originality

Writer-director Nicholas Maggio may not have intended to be self-critical when, fairly early in his debut feature “Mob Land,” he has one character observe to another about their failing small Southern town, “This whole place has become a fucking cliché.” But the longer this slackly paced rural noir continues, the more that dialogue seems in retrospect like fair warning.

Borrowing freely from “No Country for Old Men,” “Collateral” and maybe a dozen or so other superior films, Maggio has cobbled together a modestly diverting, effectively atmospheric but blatantly derivative crime drama sprinkled with a few joltingly nasty plot twists.It helps a lot that the first-time feature filmmaker has cast just about every role with an actor fully committed to their part.

Better still, some of the briefly glimpsed supporting players do their bit to ratchet up the suspense by conveying sweaty desperation, darkly comical fury, or both.At one point,…

Read full article