I’ve waited to see The Meanest Man In Texas for a couple years now and had to drive to Greensboro just to see it in a theater. Was it worth it? Read further to find out.
Director Justin Ward’s film, based on a book of the same name, tells the true story of Clyde Thompson (Mateus Ward) who was convicted of multiple murders in 1928. Sentenced to life and hard labor, Thompson – you could say miraculously – received parole. But not after experiencing a rough labor camp, infamously called “The Farm,” as well as killing more people and organizing a botched escape attempt along the way. It was when Thompson was placed in solitary confinement and experienced the loss of his father that he turned to faith and met the love of his life.
Although it took a couple years and the film hasn’t played anywhere closer to my hometown except Greensboro, I really enjoyed the film. Much of it focuses on the brutality of the 1920s judicial system in Texas compared to today and Thompson’s experiences during this time. Call me crazy, but I found myself almost rooting for him by the last act of the film, after seeing him discover his faith and change into a better person. While Thompson was not perfect, this is the quintessential redemption story.
Beyond the story itself, the casting and performances are superb. Particularly our lead in Ward, for whom I’ve been a fan of for quite some time. Ward as well as Jamie McShane and Alexandra Bard stole the show as Captain Colt and Julia Perryman, respectively.
Probably the greatest part of this film is the fact that the story it tells is true. If you can see The Meanest Man in Texas, I definitely recommend you do so. If you can’t see it in theaters, it’s up for pre-order on Amazon. Check it out!
My Rating: 4/5