Rushlights is a twisted tale of lies and deceit, with a host of characters that get more shady by the minute. This is, of course, the extreme fun in watching Rushlights‘ story play out on screen. The twists keep coming, the momentum never slows down, and the near-pulpiness of the movie only helps matters.
Seven days ago Billy (Josh Henderson of “Dallas”) and Sarah (Haley Webb) had their first date; it went very well. Today is not going to go that way. After receiving a panicked phone call from Sarah, Billy rushes to her apartment to find that her roommate has overdosed and is lying dead on the couch. In a panic, he gathers up what he assumes are Sarah’s things and they skip town–but where to go? A quick stop will answer that question, and begin the madness that is Rushlights. Its uncanny how Sarah and her dead roommate look strikingly similar–same hair color, eye color, build, etc. This is a fortunate thing as before her death she stood to inherit her dead uncle’s fortune if she shows up to claim it, in small-town Texas. Billy and Sarah are not the most honest or respectable sort; you could even say they both play one another from the beginning all the way to the end of Rushlights. That being said, they do the obvious thing, and head to Texas to impersonate the dead rommate and collect the money. The simplest plans never end up being very simple; especially when a movie takes place in small-town Texas and has Beau Bridges playing the Sheriff.
Billy and Sarah keep up the charade, but things are not quite right in this Texas town. Rushlights creates a murder mystery not before long and a who-done-it is in play. There are plenty of suspects, like Aidan Quinn’s oh-so-helpful lawyer Cameron Brogden, Bridges’ Sheriff Brogden Jr. himself, an illegitimate son of the late Uncle, the Uncle’s previous “boytoy,” and pretty much anyone else who had contact with him. There’s also an incriminating disc found–and you can only imagine what is on it. Who the murderer is is quite obvious, to the sleuth-noir aficionado–that is not what makes Rushlights a success. As the story builds it continually throws more and more twists at the viewer. It pins allies against one another, adds deceit, lies and sordid secrets to the mix, makes enemies where friends once were, and decides that turning one of your main characters into a sociopath halfway through the film is perfectly acceptable. It also has no shortage of death or blood, and people meet their end with a whimper or a bang, depending on their importance or how much of an annoyance they have been to Billy and Sarah.
Rushlights has roots in the film noir genre, and it actually subverts the film noir femme fatale into a male figure, with the female being lured into trouble and guilt ridden–forced to do things she would not normally do. Or would she? The characters in Rushlights are complicated, yet possess all of the necessary components to keep the film simplified in terms of genre conventions. Aidan Quinn has a fun time playing at the mysterious lawyer who you know is harboring secrets and Beau Bridges is ready and willing to kill anyone because, well, he is the Sheriff and the law. Relatively unknown Haley Webb shows great promise as her turn as Sarah, the confused girl who thought she knew what she doing when she agreed to the deceit only to find she is in over her head; her demons soon find her as they naturally should. As for Josh Henderson, be prepared to fear him by the end of the movie because Billy is determined to get what they came for, no matter the consequences.
Director Antoni Stutz has created a fun, dark twisted tale with Rushlights. Its a movie where you simply enjoy the ride, the craziness, and the all out determination of an independent filmmaker to make his mark by combining independent flare and mainstream staples.
Rushlights will have its West Coast Premiere at the Newport Beach Film Festival on Sunday, April 28, 2013. For more information and to purchase tickets visit the official festival page for the film: NBFF: Rushlights.
Directed by: Antoni Stutz
Written by: Antoni Stutz, Ashley Scott Meyers
Producer: Antoni Stutz, Jeffrey Coulter, Gabriella Stollenwerck
Executive Producer: Cecilia Miniucchi, Donald Zuckerman
Cinematographer: Gregg Easterbrook
Editor: Michael Palmerio, Jane Abramowitz
Music: Jeffrey Coulter
Starring: Josh Henderson, Haley Webb, Aidan Quinn, Beau Bridges