The place: America. The time: closer than we may realize.
Unemployment is in high double-digits. The acrid stench of civil war smokes the air. The 1930s Great Depression all over . . . just a little more high-tech.
Arch and Tess Uglias are blue-collar residents of the desolate Rust Belt city of Gary, Indiana. Arch, an unemployed auto-plant worker and ex-race car driver, and Tess, an unemployed nurse, are both staring homelessness and starvation in face.
Meanwhile, Frank Regis, an aging disciple of the legendary bank robber Willie Sutton, is masterminding a string of bank robberies throughout Indiana. The Regis gang is a fractious collage of professional criminals, like Frank, and once law-abiding folks who have turned to crime out of desperation.
After one of their drivers is killed during a getaway, the Regis gang goes in search of a replacement, a road that leads them to Arch Uglias. Though a law-abiding citizen and square guy his whole life, Arch, like some of the other gang members, feels compelled to take the wheel. And Tess becomes an outspoken, unwilling, uncooperative part of the package.
From there, it’s a boisterous, bawdy and dangerous drive through a desperate world for the Regis gang, from the ruins of the Midwest to the ruins of the West Coast with ruthless law enforcement in pursuit and mistrust and murder blossoming among them. In the end, the war that has been raging at the edges suddenly draws them into its bloody vortex, leading to a fierce climax of double cross and desperate escape.
“The Uglies,” an original screenplay by Thomas Burchfield (“Dragon’s Ark,” “Whackers”), drives the same perilous roads as such classics as “Bonnie and Clyde” and “The Getaway. It is a wild, bawdy, and action-packed saga about crime and pursuit, friendship and survival. It’s also the story of people who realize the need to stick together as the world around them falls to pieces.