Most helpful positive review
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Great acting in a moving story about revengeful acts of violence and family loyalty
on February 2, 2011
This 1980 short made-for-TV film might be small in size but it sure is big on impact. It was adapted from a short story by William Faulkner and takes place in Mississippi, when the Civil was still a living memory and family loyalty was unquestioned. Tommy Lee Jones, in an outstanding performance is cast as the father in a troubled family which has had to move many times because of his propensity for acts of revengeful violence. When the film opens he is on trial in a country store for burning the barn of a neighbor because of some disagreement regarding a hog. His teenage son, brilliantly played by Shawn Whitting is called to the witness stand but before he can be questioned, the judge refuses to intimidate the boy and simply rules that Tommy Lee Jones and his family must leave town.
The film really gets into the time and the place. The wagon is rickety, the family is weary and their poverty is obvious. They are now to become sharecroppers in another area and, when they arrive at their new home, the father and son go to visit the rich man they will be working for. The story then gets more complex as Tommy Lee Jones makes predicable choices. How it all turns out is the stuff of high drama. Mostly, questions are raised about family loyalty and moral questions of right and wrong. I was completely enhanced by the story, the fine acting, and the inevitable outcome. When it ended it left me with an echo and inspired me to read some more of Faulkner which I had dismissed in the past.