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  • Writer's pictureSteve

South of Heaven (2021)

Till Death, renamed South of Heaven so as not to piss off Megan Fox, is something you don't see every day -Jason Sudeikis not trying to make us all laugh. For everyone looking for the next feature length hit for him will have to wait a while longer as this is not one for the masses of fans that will have been expecting something entirely different.

One of the years' 'most likely to fall under the radar' projects is not likely to inspire too many and thrill fewer still but that doesn't make it bad or a waste of your time. It helps to know what you're letting yourself in for. It goes a long way in regard to expectations. Honestly, they should be set low to middling.

When Jimmy (Sudeikis) is released from prison, his intention is to give his wife-to-be Annie (Evangeline Lilly) the best last year of her life. She is dying of lung cancer and only has that long and he is determined to make it profoundly special, working hard and staying out of trouble as best he can. As an ex-con he inevitably comes into contact with some less than savoury characters, not least his parole officer Schmidt (Shea Whigham) who has his own plans for Jimmy's immediate future.

A couple of wrong turns later and the plot, which was in danger of becoming more than a little pedestrian, realises there is a story to tell here after all and perks up a little as Jimmy's slowly dawning fate is realised. To tell you more would ruin the story which, whilst not overly original, is certainly intriguing enough not to switch it off.

This strays about as far away from what I originally anticipated it to be and became quite something other than a love story (which it still is, admittedly, in part). As crime capers go, this doesn't set the world on fire, but it was a welcome relief to see this instead of Lilly acting out the slow, wilting demise of a cancer victim, without at least a few bells and whistles.

Lilly's acting is on point, so no complaints there, while Sudeikis looks both surprised and concerned in equal measure. The script is as complicated as the plot requires it to be and never strays further than necessity in this regard. Altogether this is a harmless enough venture, with a couple of twists, which will fail to ruffle feathers anywhere or cause any bouts of unbridled enthusiasm. This goes to just about prove that Sudeikis can do straight when has to, but probably shouldn't unless its absolutely necessary.

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