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Kristofferson can't save bloodless Bloodworth

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It's easier to get blood from a stone than to get entertainment value from Bloodworth, a tedious adaptation of William Gay's novel Provinces of Night.

Gay's story "I Hate to See That Evening Sun Go Down" was turned into a movie (That Evening Sun) that primarily worked because of the excellent lead performance by Hal Holbrook. Here, Kris Kristofferson is cast in a vaguely similar role — an elderly man whose past behavior makes himself unwelcome among his former neighbors and kinfolk — but unlike Holbrook, Kristofferson is used so sparingly in the story that he's never allowed to really shine, or even build a concrete character. Instead, this is primarily yet another coming-of-age tale about a clearly intelligent youth who wants to escape the rubes who surround him — in this case, aspiring writer Fleming Bloodworth (Reece Thompson), who gets along better with the grandfather (Kristofferson) he barely knows than with his father (Dwight Yoakam) or uncles (Val Kilmer and scripter W. Earl Brown).

With cinematography by Tim Orr (Pineapple Express) and a music department overseen by the great T-Bone Burnett (Crazy Heart), Bloodworth — set in Tennessee but filmed in North Carolina (including the Wilmington area) — certainly doesn't lack for competence behind the camera. But despite director Shane Dax Taylor's valiant efforts, the movie isn't able to render these familiar, Southern fried hicks the least bit interesting. It's more entertaining, then, to ignore the painfully obvious scenarios being played out and instead mull over the fact that siblings Kilmer and Yoakam are supposed to have emerged from the same gene pool.

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