Welcome to my column dedicated to the appreciation of physical media supplements called: Feature Presentations. The goal of this column is not to say whether a film is good or bad and worth picking up or not—I would like to highlight the discs that go the extra mile and provide film fans with enough tasty tidbits to satisfy even the hungriest of cinephiles. With all that out of the way, today’s article will focus on One False Move from the After Dark Neo-Noir Cinema box set from Imprint Films. My review of One False Move is part five of my series chronicling each film within the box set.
One False Move is a title I’ve heard many these past few decades from cinephiles all over. It could be a conversation with someone else over neo-noir or in the comments section of different film sites; many look upon One False Move as a genre classic. And yet, here I am in 2022, and the film has escaped my eyes. Thankfully, Imprint Films changed that with the film’s inclusion in the After Dark box set. And am I disappointed in myself for not venturing to see the movie earlier in life.
Co-written and co-starring Billy Bob Thornton tells the simultaneous tales of a group of criminals on the run and the cops looking to apprehend them. I know the film is almost 30 years old, but I want to keep the plot vague for those, like myself, who haven’t checked out One False Move. I purposefully avoided spoilers before checking the movie out, making the experience even more enjoyable. Just know that while the plot sounds generic, One False Move is anything but, as the script is clever enough to start one way and then switches halfway out and become a deeper and more meaningful idea. There’s plenty to go into about this film but reserved for conversations with those specific towards the movie. For this article, let’s dig into the bonus material that Imprint Films provided for One False Move.
The first interview, “Feeding the Soul,” is a chat with actor Michael Beach. Beach discusses how he transitioned from an athlete to working in theater, first appearing in The Diary of Anne Frank and making his way into Juilliard. Beach speaks honestly about his preference on projects, discussing his desire to work with Rod Steiger in Guilty as Charged, which sets off his path into One False Move. Beach then moves on to detail multiple experiences filming in Arkansas. Unfortunately, these stories he recounts deal with the localized racism he experienced as an African-American. He takes the high road regarding what he experienced, but it’s unfortunate to hear from Beach about the bigotry he suffered.
The second interview, “Finding My Voice,” is a discussion with actress Cynda Williams. Williams provides an entertaining interview discussing how she got cast in One False Move, working on an independent film, and her relationship with Billy Bob Thornton. The interview is a fun mixture of light-hearted stories about menu offerings in Arkansas and the strict nature of how director Carl Franklin approached the film. Williams offers plenty of production information to make this an interview worth checking out!
“Truth and Rhythm” is an interview with the film’s editor, Carole Kravetz Aykanian. Loving the editing that I do; this sit-down with Aykanian is the standout feature, in my opinion. Aykanian briefly touches upon how she came to work in the editing bay before getting into the meat-and-potatoes of her work on One False Move. She discusses her process while also talking about working in close proximity with Carl Franklin to ensure the film flows as it should. “Truth and Rhythm” is an excellent interview and may go down as a hidden gem of a feature on this box set.
Imprint Films also included the video essay “Hurricane and Fantasia” by Chris O’Neill with a voiceover by Claire Loy. While I wasn’t a fan of O’Neill’s last video essay on Flesh and Bone, “Hurricane and Fantasia” worked better for me. I’m still not a big fan of video essays, but there was some additional information to be garnered from “Hurricane and Fantasia,”, especially regarding the subtext within the film.
Imprint Films also included a past audio commentary with director Carl Franklin. Even if the track is old, this does not mean it isn’t worth inclusion on the disc. Franklin comes prepared for the commentary as he discusses all aspects of the film’s production. Franklin chats about the reasons for his choices in shots, and locations, including riding with an Arkansas police officer and adjustments made during filming. I’ve always felt that an audio commentary is the crux is a film’s bonus material, and Franklin’s track is what I mean. Carl Franklin’s talk allows the listener into his head to understand his mindset in approaching and filming One False Move. It’s a film school class with Carl Franklin teaching.
Imprint Films also included a second, newly-recorded audio commentary with director Shaka King and producer Brandon Harris. Maybe the commentary track with Carl Franklin spoiled me, or I possibly was expecting more, but King and Harris did not add as much additional context as I was hoping. There is talk about the differences the film would face if released by a major studio instead of independently and subtext through the film’s runtime. I can’t help to shake the feeling that a lot of this track plays out like fans of the film getting together to chat. There’s some good information, but Carl Franklin’s commentary is the one you should experience first.
Lastly, rounding out the disc, Imprint Films included the One False Move theatrical trailer.
And there you have it! I’m ashamed that it took this long to check out One False Move, but I am glad to have corrected that mistake. Courtesy of Imprint Films, One False Move has been lovingly cared for, with an excellent Blu-ray release filled with worthwhile bonus material. Carrying over a prior but entertaining director’s commentary track and a host of new interviews and visual essays, the Imprint Films edition is the best release of One False Move and stands above Mortal Thoughts, Flesh and Bone and Twilight while standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Rush as the best movie in the set so far. If you love crime, neo-noir, or great films, make sure this disc is in your collection.