The Locusts

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Delilah Potts (Kate Capshaw) owns a sizable ranch in a small Missouri town, a place so small even one new person could throw the social system off balance. As the town serves as a stop on the road to bigger, more prosperous locations, Delilah’s ranch is often frequented by those passing through, with all sorts of intentions. She has never had trouble getting the visiting males of her choice into her bedroom, either with her good looks, feminine charms, or with the promise of a day’s work and a place to bed down. The latter is usually the option of choice, as the drifters seek to put in some labor and earn some cash, as well as a place to relax for a while, until the road calls and they’re back out on their own. In other words, she has seen a lot of them come and go over time, but when Clay (Vince Vaughn) arrives at the ranch, it sends shockwaves through the ranch’s social order, even if not right off the bat. As Clay becomes more involved in the lives of those on the ranch, tensions flare, voices speak out, and romance burns, but when it looks as if Delilah isn’t getting her way, what will become of those around her, especially Clay?

This low budget, modern noirish picture has some flaws, but in the end, The Locusts turns out to be a solid overall effort, especially from a first time director. As the debut of director John Patrick Kelley, I suppose the film deserves to be cut some slack, but even scored on a normal scale, it is a well crafted, worthwhile picture. I had some doubts about the film however, as I wasn’t too sold on the premise and I don’t usually enjoy Vince Vaughn’s work, but The Locusts surpassed my expectations and won me over as a fan. Vaughn turns in a solid effort, along with a gifted cast that includes Ashley Judd, Kate Capshaw, Jeremy Davies, and others. So the cast was good, but what about the storyline, right? Well, it is not the best work out there, but it makes for a good watch and has some terrific moments. As fans of noir know, sometimes storylines need a pulpish edge, which makes more open to criticism, but better for the genre, although the great noir films overcome those issues with ease. In this case, the performances help bridge the material a little, which enhances the movie a lot, to be sure. I’d recommend this to fans of darker, more pulpish dramas, as well as those interested in the performers, as The Locusts is worth a look.

He is not the highest profile performer here, perhaps not even the most skilled, but Jeremy Davies holds claim to the best turn in The Locusts, hands down. I find his effort here to be very powerful and memorable, which is a credit to his craft, since this was only about his fifth feature film performance. His role is not the lead, nor even close to that status, but he steals many a scene and by the end credits, he has made The Locusts his own, which is quite impressive, given the supporting nature of his presence. I am pleased to see him landing more substantial roles these days, after a roll of well received efforts in higher profile pictures. Other films with Davies include The Million Dollar Hotel, Saving Private Ryan, Ravenous, The Florentine, Twister, and Spanking the Monkey. The cast also includes Vince Vaughn (Swingers, The Lost World: Jurassic Park), Ashley Judd (Someone Like You, Eye of the Beholder), and Kate Capshaw (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, The Love Letter).

Video: How does it look?

The Locusts is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. I am pleased with this treatment from MGM, as the visuals are hindered only by a few minor issues and on those, the cause is within the materials and not this transfer. As with many lower budget films, this one has some grain present, but it never becomes too thick and is seen mostly in darker scenes, such as the various night sequences. The film’s slightly muted, warm color scheme is well presented here, with hues that seem to have a thin layer of dust on them, which is how it is supposed to look, so good news there. Aside from the grain, black levels come across in well balance form, with solid detail and no real problems to report.

Audio: How does it sound?

The 2.0 surround option used here proves to be quite effective, although the material never asks too much of it. This kind of material simply needs a clean, smooth presentation and that’s what we’re given here, without much else to discuss. The lack of surround presence or power never lessens the experience, as this isn’t the type of film to need those elements, just a solid basic treatment. The music and sound effects come through well enough, while dialogue is sharp and on the mark throughout also, no complaints to be made here. This disc also includes subtitles in English, Spanish, and French.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc includes the film’s theatrical trailer.

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