A tell-tale first feature by actress Alison Eastwood, "Rails & Ties" is a heartfelt but dramatically flat portrait of a couple grappling with one tragedy whose lives are profoundly affected by the outcome of another.
While nicely performed by Kevin Bacon and Marcia Gay Harden, with lovely cinematography by her father's favorite lensman, Tom Stern, the wispy picture chugs along earnestly without achieving the necessary emotional momentum that would bring it to a convincingly affecting destination.
After premiering at the Telluride Film Festival, the Warner Bros. Pictures release will be making further festival stops at Toronto and New York, where it will need to generate a little buzz if it has hopes of standing out among the fall season's serious-minded fare when it opens in limited engagements Oct. 26.
Bacon's Tom Stark is a fittingly named, emotionally detached career train engineer who's having difficulties coming to terms with the bleak prognosis that has just been given to his wife, Megan (Harden).
A breast cancer survivor, Megan has been informed that the disease has metastasized to her bones, giving her mere months, weeks or even days to live.
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