A gangster flick with authentic Latin flavor and a twist that fingers high finance could figure as a kind of Hollywood risk that might pay off big. But Empire doesn’t successfully deliver its cash-driven and bullet-ridden modern tragedy, most of which has been done better before — with John Leguizamo.
Three women (Kyra Sedgewick, Parker Posey and Fariuza Balk) are connected by strange turns, accidental epiphanies and the craft of fiction in writer-director Rebecca Miller’s film. An all-knowing narration peels off the women’s immediate personas to reveal their hidden desires and dirty secrets — but takes it to a place that stretches just beyond the page.
The title of this moody suspense film with supernatural elements refers to an Indian spirit who's half-man, half-deer (and seemingly part tree), an all-devouring entity who comes to represent a boy’s growing awareness of the world's more chaotic, uncontrollable elements.
Anson Mount gets the chance to carry a movie of his own in which he plays the sun-baked title character. Unfortunately it’s a wasted opportunity. Tully plays as innocuous and ploddingly predictable as any Family Channel production, all earnest farm parable and small-town soap opera.
If a filmmaking Frankenstein twisted the brainy themes and story pieces from Fahrenheit 451 and 1984 into an epic sci-fi fantasy as impossibly armed and dystopian as The Matrix, and orgiastic barrages of automatic gunfire periodically drowned out the messages, it would probably be like Equilibrium.