Review of Who Is Cletis Tout?

This is definitely another very mini-cult classic.

Who is Cletis Tout?Once again, just like The Life of David Gale, this is a movie I love which was torn up by critics. Apparently some people found it clichéd and endlessly self-referential. I am not one of those people. And neither is Mike Conover for what it’s worth.

Much like Zero Effect, another classic in the VHS collection, this is a modern day film noir-ish movie. But this one is told primarily in flashback to achieve narrative exposition rather than the memoir technique that Zero Effect used. Christian Slater is caught early on by Tim Allen and held at gunpoint, forced to tell Tim his story before Tim gets the call back to finish the hit. The backstory involves a jewel heist, a love story, a prison break and a case of mistaken identity.

It’s a whole lot of fun if you can get passed the movie references that Tim Allen’s character makes. The hook is that Tim is a hit man who loves movies and if Slater’s story is interesting enough, he may let him go. The movie mostly follows the one timeline, but occasionally jumps back and forth to real time and into other flashbacks, but not so much that the layman can’t follow.

There is a scene in the middle with dialogue so torturous, I wish I could edit it myself. But other than that, it’s a lot of fun, with a bit of a surprise ending. Also, Tim says to Slater “Did anybody ever tell you you sound like Jack Nicholson?” I guess that was the self-referential part. 9.5 bugs (out of 10).

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