EIFF 2016: The Hollow Point (2016)


The Hollow Point has a feel to it, throughout many scenes, that could encourage comparisons to many other films, and film-makers. But it also does enough to feel like its own beast. Which is why I have decided not to try throwing around any such comparisons, as I feel it would be unfair to director Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego and writer Nils Lyew (I know I’m not usually so considerate, this must have caught me on a good day).

Some films have bullets fired here, there, and everywhere. Some films show the effect of just one bullet. The Hollow Point is a mixture of the two, starting with one bullet – the one responsible for the title – and then showing the violent repercussions. It’s all about the illegal arms and ammo being smuggled between America and Mexico. Two local lawmen, played by Patrick Wilson and Ian McShane, stumble across a bit of black market trading that could see their small border town ripped apart by death and vengeance. While Wilson wants to get his job done, and clean up the town, McShane seems a bit more cynical. Or realistic. He knows that they’re getting themselves into some major quicksand, with no easy way out that will leave them whole and unscathed.

With a number of great lines scattered throughout the script, even if it’s just a running joke regarding people uttering the word “asshole” after their first encounters with Wilson’s character (who has just returned to the town after some time away), and a few moments of white-knuckle tension, this is everything you could want from a crime thriller/neo-Western.

As well as Wilson and McShane, the film also boasts some excellent performances from Lynn Collins, John Leguizamo, and James Belushi. The last one may be the biggest surprise, but it’s possible that this is the sort of role he’s just been waiting for over the past few years. Is it worth mentioning that McShane almost steals the movie? Yes, I think it is, because he gets many of the best moments.

Lyew, making his feature debut with this script, has done well to sketch out a perilous situation and then develop it well enough to stop viewers thinking too hard about a little thing like believability. Lopez-Gallego knows that he’s got a solid base to work on, and he goes on to showcase his own skill during a couple of impressive set-pieces. If the two only work together for this movie then we should be thankful enough, but if they develop another one or two features together then I will be very happy indeed.

Definitely one to watch as soon as you can. If it doesn’t make it to a cinema near you, keep a sharp eye on the usual movie-streaming sites, as I would expect one of the big players to pick this up without too much delay.

The Hollow Point is showing at 2040 on 25th June in Cineworld, and at 2045 on 26th June in Odeon 4.


Film Rating: ★★★★☆

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