More a black comedy than the intended "neo-noir" that newbie auteur Jake Goldberger aspires to, "Don McKay" is a droll little independent flick for audiences with dark tastes. Thomas Haden Church is commanding as the poker faced title character who takes time away from his job as a high school janitor to reconnect with his childhood sweetheart Sonny (Elizabeth Shue) in their hometown. Sonny is allegedly dying of cancer when Don shows up at her rural home where Sonny's strict nurse Marie (Melissa Leo) keeps a close eye on Don. With a femme fatale glint in her eye Sonny wants to marry Don before she expires, but Sonny's doctor (James Rebhorn) doesn't cotton much to the couple's intimate acquaintance. One sudden murder leads to an unraveling of lies and promises that almost come together in one neatly packaged puzzle. The performances rise above the material in this roughly hewn debut experiment by a filmmaker who still needs to master the form of his chosen genre before he steps behind the camera again.
(Image Entertainment) Rated R. 87 mins. (C) (Two Stars - out of five/no halves)