Filmed on location in Louisiana, Palmer is a contemplative, life-affirming drama that traces a familiar path to redemption for a quietly spoken man (Justin Timberlake), who has served 12 years behind bars in a state penitentiary for attempted murder.
Timberlake conveys his ex-con’s inner turmoil with lowered eyes and hunched shoulders rather than words, catalysing a winning screen chemistry with exuberant young co-star Ryder Allen, who has a rare talent for breaking hearts.
Screenwriter Cheryl Guerriero hints at the ugliness and rage bubbling beneath the surface of a God-fearing community, where the two competing religions are the church and football.
However, she shies away from too much grit when heart-warming neat resolutions are an easier sell, including a gently simmering romance between Timberlake’s reformed loner turned school janitor and one of the teachers (Alisha Wainwright).
Rating: Three stars