Weird Western Fires a Blank; OUCH! DON'T COME KNOCKING Cert 15, 111mins **

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID EDWARDS

On the verge of a nervous breakdown, washed-up actor Howard Spence flees the set of his latest Western and heads off on a voyage of selfdiscovery in a frustrating little film that's almost impossible to like.

Despite being put together by the team behind the sublime 1984 film Paris, Texas, Don't Come Knocking is a strange, standoffish movie that'll leave you cold. You never get close to the characters, the town where it's set might just as well be an undiscovered planet, and there are all manner of little flaws that jump out at you.

Sam Shepard plays Howard, a man on the cusp of old age whose career as a movie cowboy has come off the rails after a lifetime of boozing, brawling and binging on cocaine.

After abandoning his trailer, like a little boy lost he heads to Nevada to visit the mother he hasn't seen in more than 30 years. Sensing his vulnerability, mom (Eva Marie Saint) takes him in and casually mentions how she got a call 20-plus years earlier from a young woman carrying his child. …