Things That Hang From Trees

Things That Hang From Trees. Although this moody Southern gothic from first-time feature director Ido Mizrahy never quite comes together, it has its moments. Most of them involve an 8-year-old boy, Tommy Jr., played with great reserves of sorrow and mystery by Cooper Musgrove. Little Tommy has asthma, and there are suggestions that he's also mentally disabled. He's so minimally responsive it's even possible to think he's autistic — until we learn, late in the story, how he has been treated by his drunken, mostly absentee father (played menacingly by Roy McKinnon, who suggests a deranged hybrid of Bill Pullman and Matthew Modine). Regardless, the many small indignities this sweet-natured kid is subjected to by the other characters make him unusually sympathetic. Those characters are mostly types: a washed-up baseball star who's now the town drunk (Peter Gerety), a fire-and-brimstone preacher (Daniel von Burgen) tormented by secret lusts, a tough but good-hearted woman (Laila Robins) who runs the local diner. To the credit of the players, they get surprising mileage out of these narrowly defined figures. But the story unfolds much too slowly, and the setting — St. Augustine in 1969 — isn't established early enough to have much relevance. The teasing title doesn't deliver any more than Tommy's quest to watch the annual fireworks display from the top of the lighthouse, the engine that drives the meandering plot. If your cup of poison is prolonged smoldering, however, there's a silky, slinky performance by Deborah Kara Unger — in the sort of role Theresa Russell does so well — as Tommy's mother, who poses as a live mannequin in the window of the lingerie/sex toy shop she runs. (Tuesday, November 7, 3 and 7 p.m., Las Olas Riverfront; Saturday, November 11, 5 p.m., Las Olas Riverfront; 97 minutes)


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