Poor Boy

Michael Shannon and Dale Dickey almost rescue an overreaching movie from itself.

In the first few minutes of Robert Scott Wildes’ crime drama Poor Boy, rodeo clown Blayde (Michael Shannon) looks directly into the camera as two moons gradually appear in the night sky. A striking image — and once used to great effect earlier this year, in the The Endless — the double moon appears again in Poor Boy, but the film doesn’t live up to it. Dirtbag brothers Samson (Dov Tiefenbach) and Romeo (Lou Taylor Pucci) run scams to make ends meet in the American Southwest, and their latest scheme — the fabled One Last Job — involves Samson proposing to an American Indian girl so they can abscond with what Romeo is sure will be a substantial dowry. Romeo aims Samson toward Cynthia (Amy Ferguson), a white girl who was adopted by an Indian family, all while detective Deb (Dale Dickey) is on the brothers’ trail.

Poor Boy deserves credit for trying to find a new spin on the “dumb guys get in over their heads in the crime world” genre, but it ultimately spins out of control, trying hard to be both an art film and a crime film without finding the balance. But even more so than Michael Shannon’s presence, Poor Boy is redeemed by the great Dickey, who always enrichens any film she’s in.

Rated R.
Opens Friday at the 4-Star Theatre.

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