Telling the story of The Man, a mysterious drifter who assumes the identity of David Martin, a man he killed a few days prior, The Quarry gives a lot of thought to the ideas of redemption and forgiveness. As The Man takes on the persona of a preacher, gaining the trust and respect of the community he is serving, he seems close to being absolved for his sins. But when the real David Martin’s body is found and two youths are accused of murdering him, The Man has a dire dilemma of truth, justice, and retribution.
The Quarry has decent performances, with many emotions both good and bad feeling genuine. Shea Whigham as The Man has a quiet fear that may resonate well with the viewer. It’s interesting to watch him because it’s hard to tell whether he’s growing a conscience throughout the film or if he’s just digging deep into his new persona in order to keep from getting caught. Michael Shannon is deplorable as Chief Moore. The only person of Hispanic heritage that he seems to care for is the one he’s sleeping with - the rest are just people he doesn’t seem to fully respect. The hardest performance given has to be Bobby Soto as Valentin, who really plays up the anger of a man guilty until proven innocent.
The main issue with The Quarry is that even with fine performances, the story doesn’t really amount to much. It drags in some places and may cause a loss of interest. The jumps between Valentin Chief Moore and The Man leave little room for character development for all of them. Then there are times where it simply isn’t clear what’s going on because the film either didn’t bother explaining its shift in story or took too long during one scene for the following to make sense. For a 98-minute feature, it honestly felt a lot longer.
While The Quarry isn’t a great film, it certainly isn’t bad. Some of the racial and religious beats presented are stereotypical and can paint the townsfolk as fanatics when it’s clear that they have nothing or no one else to turn to other than the one preaching God’s word. The film can be frustrating at times, but it does give a lot to think about for people religious and non-religious.