“Out of the Blue” is so enamored of movie noir tropes that the lead character isn’t just an ex-con, he’s additionally a librarian who spends nights watching Turner Basic Films. It’s by no means fairly clear if the film he’s truly in is a straight-faced parody or an undercooked homage to these black-and-white staples, however there’s no query writer-director Neil LaBute’s effort doesn’t catch fireplace.
The motion is ready within the sleepy New England city of Twin Oaks (one in every of a number of deliberate references to “The Postman Always Rings Twice”), the place so little occurs that the few residents ever charged with against the law are whispered about like minor celebrities. One among them, Connor (Ray Nicholson), is the librarian, who meets pissed off trophy spouse Marilyn (Diane Kruger) when he’s out for a run and she or he’s out for a swim. Their awkward flirtations rapidly flip into common sexual encounters — full with clumsy exchanges (“You have such a beautiful face” … “I’m glad you like it”) that solely remind us how far-off LaBute is from his late ‘90s heyday as a playwright and indie film provocateur. Though it’s not fairly correct to say something occurs rapidly in a film that’s crammed with incessant, smug title playing cards resembling “The Next Tuesday” and “Two or Three Weeks Later” marking the passage of time.
Marilyn, whose married surname Chambers appears to nod to each the grownup movie star and “Postman” as soon as once more, doesn’t need to work too laborious to persuade Connor she’d be higher off with out her husband. And since Connor’s solely different obvious human relationships are along with his parole officer (Hank Azaria, working extra time in an oddly aggressive function) and a perky Annie Corridor-styled co-worker (Gia Crovatin), he falls deeper and deeper into no matter net Marilyn is spinning, proving he’s discovered nothing from TCM.
An awesome femme fatale can elevate any noir, however the gifted Kruger isn’t given a lot to work with right here. It’s largely as much as relative newcomer Nicholson (yep, he’s the son of Hollywood icon Jack, whose distinguished credit after all embody the 1981 model of “Postman”) to hold the movie’s admittedly mild load. After smaller roles in “Promising Young Woman” and “Licorice Pizza,” he exhibits flashes of main man potential.
‘Out of the Blue’
Ranking: R, for sexual content material, language and a few violence
Working time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Enjoying: Lumiere Cinema, Beverly Hills; additionally accessible on VOD