April 2, 2010 at 1:00 am

Tom Long Film Review: 'The Yellow Handkerchief' -- GRADE: C+

Review: 'Yellow' does not move fast enough

There's a languid, liquid feel to "The Yellow Handkerchief," a slow drawl of a film about love in the aftermath of disaster.

The physical disaster involved in the drama is Hurricane Katrina, since the film takes place in sweaty post-flood Louisiana.

But the disasters at the movie's heart are an ex-convict's still-burning love for his wife and a teen girl's aching for something more than rural southern life.

The con is played by William Hurt, the girl by Kristen Stewart. Hurt is Brett Hanson, on his way back to New Orleans through a series of small towns when he runs into the girl, Martine, at a convenience store where an out-of-town boy named Gordy (Eddy Redmayne, so American-looking it hurts to admit he's British) is trying to impress everyone.

Somehow the three end up in the motor-mouthed Gordy's convertible, heading south, as the film becomes part road movie, part Brett's reminiscence of his life's great love.

The memories prove more potent than the present as director Udayan Prasad is given to too many incomplete sentences and thoughtful gazes when left without a strict story to tell.

Luckily, the story of the ramshackle Brett and his one true match May (Maria Bello, both flinty and lovely) gives the film some center.

Otherwise, this is basically brooding people doing awkward things in a humid environment.

By the time the film brings both stories together, as our heroes literally drive Brett home, the film starts taking on a slightly corny lean, but at least it's also finally going somewhere.

For Hurt, it's one more interesting turn in a small film; for "Twilight" star Stewart, it's life outside a vampire world, although she plays the sullen teen with a familiar listlessness.

Still, at least "The Yellow Handkerchief" offers a road less taken.

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