New on DVD: All Hat

All HatWesterns have been filmed in Canada numerous times but rarely has one actually been set in the country – All Hat takes place in rural Ontario.

Ray (Luke Kirby) just got out of prison. His plan is to get a job, maybe get back the girl (Lisa Ray), and stay away from the reason he was in jail to start. Two out of three ain't bad. When the town’s spoiled rich kid (Noam Jenkins) devises a devious plot involving a racehorse, land buying and a few black eyes, Ray puts a plan of his own into action.

Surrogate father Keith Carradine has a presence and charming humor that dominates scenes, while Rachael Leigh Cook is cute as the hard-drinking, roguish tomboy. But while the acting is adequate, the narrative is not. The story does not flow as the plot staggers through a slow reveal of Ray's conviction and no event leads smoothly into the next.

Ray’s plan works in theory but could not take place in reality, adding to the film’s script problems. Also, it has the feel of a modernized western like Brokeback Mountain, but is not as engaging. Nonetheless, these problems could probably have been overlooked if the transition of events had been smoother.

A short “behind the scenes” featurette is included, as well as a few deleted scenes (showing the filmmakers made at least one good decision in the way they decided to introduce Cook’s character).

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