The Satan Has a Title

The Devil Has a Name

This film’s opening scene is a scenery-chewing feast. Kate Bosworth’s Gigi comes swaggering right into a boardroom at Houston’s Shore Oil, carrying a duster that possibly she picked up within the costume trailer for a spaghetti Western, and units a flask in entrance of her not too lengthy after sitting down.

Throughout from her sits Alfred Molina as “Large Boss,” who sneers contempt BIGLY as he drawls snide observations about JFK’s assassination and implies that Gigi could also be in for one thing comparable. The 35th President, he says, “was culled like a veal calf,” as a result of “LBJ couldn’t abide whippersnappers.” Apparently Large Boss just isn’t up on Robert Caro, who completely discredited any notion that LBJ was concerned in Kennedy’s assassination with out breaking a sweat.

Giving no quarter within the overacting division, the normally regular performer Bosworth drawls the title phrase again as Large Boss. Which is ironic as a result of the true satan right here is the oil firm, not the farmer performed by David Strathairn who sues Shore Oil for polluting his land.

Apparently “impressed by true occasions” however actually simply riffing outrageously on the Central California Water Contamination Wars, “The Satan Has a Title,” directed by actor Edward James Olmos, who additionally performs a supporting function right here, is an offended film that’s offended about the proper issues. Nevertheless it’s so offended that it will get somewhat loopy about it.

The script is by Robert McEveety, and far of it seems like stuff Aaron Sorkin would possibly concoct if he had been on the identical drug routine our present president is presently having fun with. “The board’s subject just isn’t with the air pollution however your failure to cowl it up,” one company functionary chides Gigi. Other than being a tad on-the-nose, this ignores the truth that no company shill who’s not an entire imbecile ever pronounces the phrases “cowl up” out loud however as a substitute makes use of convoluted capitalist newspeak like “comprise the narrative.” After which there’s the truth that most of the time such miscreants are satisfied of their rectitude. This film’s villains twirl mustaches which can be yards lengthy.

Numerous events come round to mollify Strathairn’s Freddy; Haley Joel Osment performs a slick advert man who lowballs him. Then Freddy is approached by a stammering would-be whistleblower who seems to be no such factor, as anybody who acknowledges Pablo Schreiber will immediately determine.

On a few story arcs on “Legislation and Order: SVU,” Schreiber performed a superhuman psychotic who kidnapped and terrorized Mariska Hargitay’s Olivia Benson possibly 34 instances or so. Did I point out scenery-chewing earlier than? In these episodes Schreiber grew to become The Actor Who Ate New York. Right here he solely has about 50 minutes of display screen time to chow down, however man does he make one of the best of it.

As for Bosworth, her huge freak-out after spilling espresso on her rug is elevated to a semi-Shakespearean “Out, rattling spot” one-act; one desires to shout at her to name Stanley Steemer already.

How does the film stay watchable regardless of all this breast-beating? Effectively, in a bizarre means, the breast-beating is form of enjoyable, when you’ve accustomed your self to the truth that you’re in for it. And the familiarity of a few of it—Martin Sheen as a righteous lawyer doing his righteous Martin Sheen factor, the simple chemistry of Strathairn and right-hand-man Olmos as they communicate unsubtitled Spanish at one another—lends a Social-Justice-Film Consolation Vibe to the proceedings.

And in addition: venal company pursuits are polluting our water! It’s actual, individuals.

Now out there in theaters and on digital platforms

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