RATING |

It seems another member of Clint Eastwood's brood is ready for stardom.

Francesca Eastwood, 22, his daughter with actor Frances Fisher, is one of the bright lights in writer-director JT Mollner's otherwise uneven feature debut, Outlaws and Angels, a violent and perverse paen to the trashy spaghetti westerns and giallos that Italy pumped out in the 1970s.

A low-budget heist story that's been marinated in a seriously twisted and disturbing sense of humor, Outlaws and Angels stars Chad Michael Murray as Henry, the leader of a gang of thugs who seek shelter at a preacher's remote farmhouse after pulling off a blood-soaked bank robbery in New Mexico.

Farscape's Ben Browder sports a squirrel's tail of a mustache as the preacher George Tildon, who cowers as the four bad men attack his wife (a Bible-thumping Teri Polo) and two teenage daughters, the mean-spirited Charlotte (Madisen Beaty) and bullied baby sister Flo (Eastwood).

Thing is, Flo ain't too upset about being taken hostage. She falls head over heels for Henry, telling him about the horrible Cinderella life she's lived with her hateful family.

She admits she wants to be an outlaw.

Eastwood and Murray are wonderful together, playing off each other's growing psychosis as they egg each other on to rain holy hell on the rest of the family.

The lively cast includes Francesca Eastwood's real-life mom Fisher, Nathan Russell, and Luke Wilson - who does a madcap turn as an ax-wielding bounty hunter who goes after Henry and his crew.

Mollner has had some serious film-fest success with his short films, including Flowers in December and The Red Room.

He's an inventive filmmaker, although here prone to dropping too many hipper-than-thou references to the mega-violent flicks of Quentin Tarantino, Sam Peckinpah, and Sergio Leone.

When he's not trying so hard and takes the time to do his own thing, he creates enjoyably twisted satire.

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MOVIE REVIEW

Outlaws and Angels

ss1/2 (Out of four stars)

yDirected by JT Mollner. With Chad Michael Murray, Francesca Eastwood, Luke Wilson, Teri Polo, Ben Browder, Madisen Beaty. Distributed by Momentum Pictures.

yRunning time: 2 hours.

yParent's guide: R (strong bloody violence, disturbing sexual content, profanity).

yPlaying at: AMC Loews Cherry Hill 24.

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