Directed by Antoni Stutz, Rushlights (playing at Angelika Film Center Dallas April 9) is a dark, gritty action-mystery thriller that revolves around Billy Brody (Dallas star Josh Henderson) and Sarah (Haley Webb), two delinquent young lovers from the suburbs of Los Angeles.
Haunted by their own dubious pasts while pursuing new scams, they wind up in a nightmare of greed and betrayal in the twisted underworld of a small town in Texas. Confronted by a sharp sheriff and conniving lawyer, the would-be Bonnie and Clyde have nowhere to run.
DIFF: Essentially all of the characters in Rushlights are flawed or imperfect. What does a morally gray story offer that a black-and-white story does not?
Antoni Stutz: Great question. I like the word gray. Within the context of storytelling, gray to me is simply more interesting than black and white.
Most people’s personalities in real life are rather complex, made up of layers of many different shades of gray. In the end people are full of surprises. Good and bad. Morality included. That’s life.
DIFF: What influenced you to set the story in Texas?
AS: As a director who loves the camera, when I scouted Texas, I feel in love with what I saw. So at first, it was an instinctual, an artistic decision, not a conceptual one.
Then of course I realized that the Texas “feel” added an entire layer to the story. The weather, the space, the way people talk. All this added to Billy and Sarah being completely uprooted, underscoring the brewing conflict once there arrive in Tremo.
DIFF: Describe the characters of Sarah and Billy. How far are they willing to go to get what they want? What is driving them?
AS: To a large degree, Billy and Sarah are misguided victims of unfortunate circumstances. Like everybody in this film, the two chase the promise of a better life.
And chasing that promise propels the characters down a deadly path and forces them to reckon with the ugly truths they’ve been trying so desperately to outrun. Nobody escapes their demons in Rushlights. There is no easy way out.