This underrated gem from writer/director Steve Kloves recalls the dirge-like atmosphere and violent subject matter of In Cold Blood (1967). Like that Truman Capote novel and film, Kloves' tale revolves around a rural mass murder and its consequences, but an artificiality sometimes peeks through the veneer in snatches of dialogue and character business that don't ring quite true. Despite these bumps in the narrative road, some forgivable predictability and a pace that occasionally lags, this absorbing drama develops into a strong, riveting tale with a knockout of an ending. Flesh and Bone also boasts a quartet of solid leads. Real-life husband and wife at the time, Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan are sporadically too cute and perky for the material, but their genuine chemistry is evident and grounds the script's lapses in dialogue and character development. Meanwhile, James Caan sinks his teeth into another morally conflicted part, while Gwyneth Paltrow shines in the role that began her ascent to stardom. Kloves' film falls just short of its Shakespearean aspirations, but it's an intelligent, emotionally veracious drama worthy of a talented filmmaker.
by Karl Williams review