'Two Step' is a brutal, successful character drama


“Two-Step” is a brutal movie about desperation. Taking place in Austin, the film from director Alex R. Johnson follows Webb (James Hebert), a two-bit failure of a con-man. Webb is in jail for breaking his girlfriend’s nose, and spends his time in jail conning the elderly by cold calling and pretending to be a grandson in need of cash. Webb is released from prison only to discover that his girlfriend has fled and the local big-shot Duane (Jason Douglas) is angrily waiting for the ten grand that Webb owes. Webb has the choice to pay up or get out of town, so he doubles his efforts with the con and inadvertently is found out by James (Skye Moore), the grandson of one of his victims. Webb has to take quick action, and the result is a dark, violent descent filled with torture and murder.
The movie adopts a slow pace, taking its time setting up the characters and situation before things take a turn for the worst, but the dramatic arc is ultimately rewarding when the dust and blood has settled. Hebert is the stand out of the cast, playing up Webb’s preference for violence while also showing the weakness behind the character. Beth Broderick also impresses as Dot, an eccentric dancing teacher who forms an unlikely bond with James after his grandmother passes. The emotional development between the two characters is the counterpoint to Webb's descent to darker actions. The film succeeds in balancing the two sides of the story while also feeling like a singular narrative. Ultimately, "Two Step" is about the flaws that hold people back, and what happens when a person chooses to defy those flaws or succumb to them.