A Town Has Turned To Dust TV movie (1998)
Director: Rob Nilsson.
Original screenplay by Rod Serling (creator of The Twilight Zone).
Starring: Frankie Avina, Judy Collins, Steven Lang, Zahn McClarnon, Gabriel Olos, Ron Perlman, Barbara Jane Reams, Scott Wilkinson.
Two hundred years in the future, in a radioactive scrap metal mining town on the almost completely abandoned, draught ridden, dying planet Earth, a young man of a "second class race" is lynched for the supposed beating and attempted rape of the wife of the town boss before he can be taken off planet to the new home of humanity for trial. The act exhumes an old guilt that begins the final disintegration of a town already half buried in the ugly dust of racism and prejudice.
This was a nice surprise as Sci-Fi Channel movies are hit and miss. Steven Lang ("Ike Clanton" from 1993's "Tombstone") does an excellent job as the useless, haunted town drunk and Sheriff Harvey Denton. The "Cain and Abel-ish" brother like relationship between his character and Ron Perlman's town boss and mob ring leader Jerry Paul is well done by both actors. You can see it there dying, being killed by time, guilt, booze and power. The abusive love-hate relationship between Jerry Paul and his wife Maya (Barbara Jane Reams) is very realistic, scary in its unhealthy depths of possession and desire to care and be cared for.
Definitely worth a rent (the DVD has no extras, which is surprising because I have heard that a making of documentary was done).
First published in 2004 on The Perlman Pages.