Based on the acclaimed novel by the same name, The World Made Straight is set in a rural community heavy with a dark past and dangerous present. The film follows a rebellious young man, Travis, (Jeremy Irvine) as he struggles to decide between the dark path he is on and the chance at a new life.
Greetings again from the darkness. The Hatfields and McCoys family feud has long been a favorite topic and inspiration for literary and film projects. Lesser known, but ultimately more tragic and historically vital, is the 1863 Shelton Laurel Massacre during the Civil War. The novel from Ron Rash is the foundation of director David Burris’ film that explores the fallout of that incident more than 100 years later in the very rural Appalachian hills of Madison County, North Carolina.
It doesn’t take us long to get a line on Travis (Jeremy Irvine, War Horse), a high school dropout with authority issues who hangs out with his equally aimless friends, including Shane (Haley Joel Osment, The Sixth Sense). We have seen many film depictions of hillbillies over the years, so the grim atmosphere of unemployment, isolation, lack of education, drugs and lack-of-hope aren’t surprising, and the undercurrent of the 1863 event is what should have set this one apart.
Interest picks up when teacher-turned-drug dealer Leonard (Noah Wyle) takes Travis under his wing after Travis has an unfortunate run-in with Carlton (Steve Earle), another local drug dealer. Travis moves in with Leonard and his drug-addicted girlfriend (Minka Kelly), and takes a real interest in the journals of Civil War soldiers that Leonard has collected. These stories spark a curiosity within Travis, in particular the saga of 13 year old David Shelton – one of the victims of the massacre.
The World Made Straight
Directed by: David Burris
Starring: Minka Kelly, Haley Joel Osment, Jeremy Irvine, Adelaide Clemens, Noah Wyle, Sandra Ellis Lafferty, Robin Mullins
Screenplay by: Shane Danielsen, Ron Rash
Production Design by: Russell Barnes
Cinematography by: Tim Orr
Film Editing by: Mako Kamitsuna
Costume Design by: Sarah Mae Burton
Set Decoration by: John Richoux
Art Direction by: Ada Smith
MPAA Rating: R for language including sexual references, drug content and violence.
Studio: Millennium Films
Release Date: January 9, 2015