With a guiding title premise that has little to no bearing on the story, The Yellow Handkerchief is basically a glorified student film.
William Hurt gives a worthy performance as Brett Hanson, a convicted murderer released into the hot Louisiana sun after serving a six-year prison sentence. Brett catches a ride with an unlikely but self-professed "native Indian" named Gordy (well played by Eddie Redmayne) and a 15-year-old would-be sexpot named Martine (played with typecast redundancy by Kristen Stewart). Socially challenged Gordy wants to seal a romantic deal with Martine, who is clearly attracted to Brett, a man old enough to be her grandfather.
The trio's road trip passes through devastated post-Katrina New Orleans before dead-ending at the boat-house home of Brett's former love May (Maria Bello) in a narrative culmination as prosaic as they come. "Tie a yellow ribbon ’round the old oak tree," and skip this pigeonhole of independent film tropes. Grade: C-
Opens May 28.