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FLIFF 2013 opens with a bang: Anna Paquin as Fort Lauderdale drug smuggler

FLIFF 2013 opens with a bang: Anna Paquin as Fort Lauderdale drug smuggler

The opening moment of “Free Ride,” Friday night’s gripping curtain-raiser for the 28th annual Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, is quick to introduce the carefully calibrated tension to follow for the next 83 minutes. “Grass, gas or ass,” a voice intones, “nobody rides for free.”

The words, with their manipulative disdain for the vulnerable, are familiar bumper-sticker poetry, of course. But here they are given an added twist, tumbling matter-of-factly from the mouth of an innocent, the 7-year-old Shell, a character whose life in sunny 1970s Fort Lauderdale with her mother and sister is about to take a dark turn.

Adding to the apprehension is the knowledge that...

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