One False Move ranked near the top of some critics' best-films list for 1991 despite being off the radar screen for most audiences. A challenging psychological thriller disguised as a cops-and-robbers action movie, this original story was written by an unknown named Billy Bob Thornton before he became famous for Sling Blade. Director Carl Franklin displayed a knack for exquisite timing and nuanced character shadings in filming this unorthodox tale about a trio of violent drug dealers fleeing Los Angeles cops and heading for a peaceful Arkansas town where an anxious sheriff (Bill Paxton) has extra reasons to fear their arrival. Much of the film is an excruciating waiting game, and the climax is a revelation that sheds new light on all that has gone before. An introspective action movie sounds like a misnomer, but Franklin accomplished something similar, if slicker, a few years later with Devil with a Blue Dress, which was also commercially unsuccessful.
by Michael Betzold review