Mixed or average reviews - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 20
  2. Negative: 2 out of 20
Watch On
  1. The film, adapted from a novel by James Hadley Chase, aspires to out-noir every other film noir that has been lumped under that popular term, including "The Big Sleep" (which it resembles), in plot trickery and steaminess.
  2. 50
    The movie has elements of the genre and lacks only pacing and plausibility. You wait through scenes that unfold with maddening deliberation, hoping for a payoff--and when it comes, you feel cheated.
  3. Reviewed by: Tom Meek
    What begins as a lush, pulpy gothic laced with intrigue quickly spins into a convoluted web of over engineered and preposterous plot twists.
  4. The result, as a colleague once so aptly put it, is less film noir than film beige.
  5. 50
    There's not a moment of originality in the entire motion picture.
  6. There's no buildup and little shape. Scenes are strong, but the movie as a whole flags.
  7. The script, based on British pulp writer James Hadley Chase's novel "Just Another Sucker," is a muddle, and no actors, no matter how compelling or talented, could make its silly dialogue work.
  8. 50
    Because so many female characters spend so much time trying to seduce Harrelson (usually successfully), the notion that multiplicity enhances intrigue is pretty worn out by the time any duplicity is revealed.
  9. 50
    Director Volker Schlöndorff is ponderously out of his depth with comic pulp, and fatally heavy-handed with his actors.
  10. 50
    Palmetto follows the rules of film noir so slavishly that it's tough not to like it just on its own dopey, headstrong merit.
  11. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Palmetto is an unconvincing, paint-by-numbers pass at American noir by the usually ambitious German director Volker Schlondorff (The Tin Drum).
  12. 40
    It's been said that a thriller is only as good as its chief villain, and, in the same way, most noirs are only as good as their suckers. Palmetto has a good sucker but not much else.
  13. Reviewed by: Angie Errigo
    There is nothing reprehensible about Palmetto; it simply falls short of conviction because you're too aware you've seen it all a hundred times before.
  14. 40
    This neo-noir pastiche is so preposterously overwrought that you keep figuring it must be some kind of joke, except that it's not funny.
  15. Reviewed by: Dennis Harvey
    Surprises are reserved for the final half-hour, at which point the slow-paced Palmetto has long since fossilized as a routine exercise in ceiling-fan, sweaty-forehead noir-by-numbers.
  16. This adaptation of James Hadley Chase's "Just Another Sucker" isn't so bad you'd want to roast it over the coals, but it ain't much good either.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 7 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 1 out of 3
  1. TonyB.
    Nov 26, 2005
    Steamy as hell, "Palmetto" is too far over the top to be taken very seriously. Unlike the film noir gems it seeks to emulate, it doesn't Steamy as hell, "Palmetto" is too far over the top to be taken very seriously. Unlike the film noir gems it seeks to emulate, it doesn't have a believable moment in it. Full Review »