First-time feature directors Simon and Zeke Hawkins tip their hat to pulp crime master Jim Thompson in this tight, twisty, Texas-set nouveau noir about three teenage friends who get in way over their head when they cross a down-home crime syndicate.

Vanguard

We Gotta Get Out of This Place

Simon Hawkins, Zeke Hawkins

Tipping its hat from the start to the classic novels of pulp crime master Jim Thompson, We Gotta Get Out of This Place is a tight nouveau noir by first-time feature directors Simon and Zeke Hawkins. The Hawkins brothers have crafted a tense thriller in their story of three teens, on the verge of escaping a dead-end existence in their cotton-mill town, who get sucked into the seedy underbelly of organized crime, Texas style.

With his best pal Bobby (Jeremy Allen White) and his girl Sue (Mackenzie Davis) getting ready to leave town for college, good ol' boy B.J. (Logan Huffman) steals some money from his boss, Giff, so he can treat his friends to a wild weekend of partying. Unfortunately, the money belonged to a mysterious gangster known as Big Red, and the three teens are forced to rob a local money-laundering front to settle their debt. Insecurities and deception among B.J., Bobby and Sue ratchet up the tension leading to the heist, making it increasingly difficult to predict who will come out on top — or even alive.

The three fresh young leads are anchored by a career-changing performance by veteran film and television character actor Mark Pellegrino as the snake-tongued baddie — topped with a great reveal of the true mastermind behind the crime syndicate. We Gotta Get Out of This Place is at once a sad love letter to a dying way of life in rural America, and a searing indictment of the depravity that can fester in a small town.

COLIN GEDDES

Screenings

Sat Sep 07

The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema

Regular
6:45pm
Sun Sep 08

Scotiabank 6

Industry
8:30am
Sun Sep 08

Scotiabank 4

Regular
4:00pm
Thu Sep 12

Scotiabank 6

Industry
9:30pm
Sun Sep 15

Scotiabank 10

Regular
9:00pm