thedecoyMartin (Kevin Market), a mute blacksmith living in a small Arizona town, is framed for the murder of a retiring banker and his wife, who were his surrogate parents. The murdered couple’s son-in-law, John (Justin Kreinbrink), is a deputy who is given orders to bring the prisoner to Tucson for the usual quick trial and the usual hanging.

The Decoy is a low budget film, shot in 17 days at Gammons Gulch and Old Tucson, Arizona, by actor/director Kreinbrink, and it’s a decent first effort. In fact, everything about it is decent—the acting, the dialogue, the camera work. Where it falters here and there is in the pacing because, at heart, the picture would have formed the basis of an above average hour-long Gunsmoke episode. That’s not a bad thing, except the movie is stretched to more than 90 minutes.

What’s particularly likeable are one or two neat plot twists. The action in the woods where John and Martin confront the bad guys is well paced and it shows where much of Kreinbrink’s talent lies.

What doesn’t work is the structure, or rather, the cohesion of the events and characters; this is writing and editing, I’m talking about. And, to be honest, the mild-mannered Martin was really getting on my nerves, I have to say. Maybe that’s just me, but I can only take so much sheepish humility on any given day.

I’d hope that Kreinbrink’s next shot at a Western is more ambitious and less sentimental, and a tad less pretty; I get the feeling he’d be good at something darker and considerably more detailed.

Related Articles

  • waynecentury

    It’s not easy to make a choice among the innumerable John Wayne box sets and…

  • (Criterion Collections; $39.95) 

    John Ford’s Stagecoach made John Wayne, who had been around for more than a decade,…

  • Gallow Walker, a supernatural Western by Intandem Films, stars Wesley Snipes as a gunfighter who…