Chrystal | Chicago Reader

Chrystal

The only reason to watch this 2004 exercise in southern gothic is writer-director Ray McKinnon, playing a strung-out villain who kick-starts the quasi-mystical drama of tragedy and redemption. Lisa Blount (McKinnon's real-life wife) may have the title role, but it's a thankless one: as a mother who breaks her neck and loses her son when her spouse drives them off a road in the Ozarks, she's stiff as a board and only slightly more emotive. As her prodigal husband, Billy Bob Thornton spends most of the picture looking as though his fried catfish dinner didn't sit quite right. His best moments come in an inventive fight scene opposite McKinnon; in his worst he's a scraggly hermit decked out like some mountain-man Bad Santa. With Harry J. Lennix, Johnny Galecki, and Harry Dean Stanton. R, 106 min.

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