A light shines on small-town tale of love and murder


Published: Friday, June 21, 2013 at 12:36 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, June 21, 2013 at 12:36 p.m.

If you try to steal a rich man’s fortune, you may find your own misfortune instead.

Facts

‘Rushlights’

Starring: Beau Bridges, Haley Webb, Josh Henderson and Aidan Quinn; directed by Antoni Stutz
Opens: Today, 8:30 p.m. and runs through June 27
Showtimes: 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 7 p.m. Monday to Thursday
Info: http://thehipp.org/Calendar/Cinema/1132/

That’s at the heart of the story in “Rushlights,” the movie opening at the Hippodrome Cinema today.

The film, which stars Josh Henderson, Beau Bridges, Aidan Quinn and Haley Webb, is the story of two teenage lovers from Los Angeles who try to escape their life situations by crafting the perfect scam, says director, co-writer and producer Antoni Stutz. But when the town’s dark secrets surface and bloody obstacles come their way, things go haywire for the couple.

The unwinding greed and deceit by two young con artists as they attempt to falsely claim the inheritance of a dead friend in the small town of Tremo, Texas, sets the movie on an inevitable path.

The lovers’ conflict deepens when past drug habits and old debts come back to haunt them, Stutz says. The couple has an impulsive nature that blurs the lines between right and wrong, but the audience will be able to see there is humanity in everyone and a chance at redemption, he says.

“It’s like, Jesus Christ, how much can you take?” says Stutz. “A lot of these

characters are operating in the gray zone; we don’t always make the right choices or do the right thing.”

Actress Haley Webb, 27, says the film will attract an audience from different generations. Girls may be drawn to her “easy on the eyes” up-and-coming costar Josh Henderson, while older viewers will be drawn to Beau Bridges’ accomplished reputation.

She says the love story pulls at the heartstrings of viewers, and the intensity of the plot keeps the mystery moving along.

Stutz says the story, loosely based on true events in a small Alabama town, puts a twist on the thriller genre that will keep viewers guessing.

He says the title, “Rushlights,” which was inspired by a poem by B.J. Smith, has a figurative significance to the film.

A rushlight, “the poor man’s candle” as Stutz refers to it, is an old lighting technique used at crime scenes. He says the name foreshadows the fate of the characters and illuminates a broader theme when a light is shed on their hidden truths.

Webb agrees there is more to the movie than obvious moral lessons and packed action.

“People will come into the movie and think they’re seeing only a thriller and an entertaining film – which they are,” says Webb, “But they’re also in for an emotional ride.”

The movie, which screened at the Montreal International Festival in 2012 and at the Dallas International and Newport Beach International film festivals this year, is opening in limited release in Gainesville, New York City and Los Angeles.

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