There’s a long list of films that attempt to show how criminal enterprises aren’t always run by the mob, cartels, or rogue terrorist groups. This other type of thriller shows that sometimes criminal activity is carried out by some of the weirdest, ill-equipped people you can imagine. Hell, filmmakers like the Coen Brothers have pretty much given the blueprint on how to do these types of movies the right way. Hopefully, Clark Duke followed the Coen’s lead in the new film “Arkansas.”
As seen in the trailer, “Arkansas” follows the drug trafficking activity of a group of Southern folks (in this case, a few oddball rednecks), as they attempt to evade the law, other criminals, and early death. The film clearly is going after that “Fargo”-esque blend of a regional black comedy and a gritty crime drama. Will the final product compare to the classic film? That’s a high bar to clear and it’s unlikely, but the trailer does look pretty damn entertaining, mainly due to the film’s really great cast.
Clark Duke, best known for playing “that guy” in a number of comedy projects such as “Hot Tub Time Machine” and, my personal favorite, a brief run as Clark (aka Dwight, Jr.) on “The Office,” makes his directorial debut with “Arkansas.” And his career as an actor has clearly endeared him with some big names, as the cast for his debut is filled with the likes of Liam Hemsworth, Vince Vaughn, John Malkovich, and Vivica A. Fox.
“Arkansas” was supposed to debut as part of this year’s SXSW Film Festival. Sadly, due to the coronavirus outbreak, the festival, and thus the film’s premiere, was canceled. However, Lionsgate will give everyone the chance to check the film out when it arrives in select theaters and VOD on May 5.
Here’s the synopsis:
In Clark Duke’s directorial debut, Kyle (Liam Hemsworth) and Swin (Clark Duke) live by the orders of an Arkansas-based drug kingpin named Frog (Vince Vaughn), whom they’ve never met. Posing as junior park rangers by day, they operate as low-level drug couriers by night under the watchful eye of Frog’s proxies (John Malkovich and Vivica A. Fox). Swin then settles into his day job by taking up a relationship with Johnna (Eden Brolin) against orders to blend in while Kyle continues to question his night job by trying to figure out who Frog really is. Their world is then upended after one too many inept decisions, and Kyle, Swin, and Johanna find themselves directly in Frog’s crosshairs, who mistakenly sees them as a threat to his empire. Based on John Brandon’s best-selling book of the same name, ARKANSAS weaves together three decades of Deep South drug trafficking to explore the cycle of violence that turns young men into criminals, and old men into legends.