Wound tight and cocky, Jimmy Starks (Guy Pearce
) has plans, big plans. A smooth-talking salesman, he might be in flooring now, but he's got a surefire idea that'll take him through the roof -- selling restored jukeboxes to bars across the country. People will be lining up to throw money into 'em, right? Certain he's standing on the precipice of great fortune if only he can get financial backing, Jimmy is barreling down the road to success, when one by one things start to break down . . . starting with his car.
Suddenly stranded in the middle of a remote New Mexican town, desolate as any in the Twilight Zone
, Jimmy learns from a local mechanic he's not going anywhere until the problem is fixed. He's forced into limbo, and what better way to pass the time than by getting a reading from a roadside soothsayer (J.K. Simmons
) who claims that for $10 he can step into his RV and right into Jimmy's future. Shelling out the cash, Jimmy starts off practical. Will his car eventually make it home? Will the New Mexico Wolves win their upcoming basketball game? The old man assures him that both are good bets.
But since everyone knows the Wolves' star player is benched with an injury and the team doesn't have a prayer of winning, Jimmy grows more cynical by the minute. Still, he has nothing better to do, so he asks if there's a chance the financial backing for his jukeboxes will come through. Ahhh, that will require a deeper descent, replies the old man. It seems Jimmy's mind is so cluttered it will cost more money to penetrate it.
Well, Jimmy is already the kind of guy who pretty much believes in no one but himself. As far as he's concerned, he makes his own destiny and the future is in no one's hands but his own. Still, the amusement is worth a few more bucks, so he puts his skepticism on the shelf, and fishes out the cash. Now, with grave sincerity, the old man takes Jimmy's hand and peers into the great beyond. Yes, he is clearly feeling good financial vibrations – a windfall by way of Dallas is on the way.
But suddenly the mysterious seer lurches away, ripping his hand from Jimmy's grasp as though he just touched a red-hot branding iron. Startled, Jimmy demands to know what's going on. He offers more money, but the old man returns the original bills Jimmy gave him, saying no amount will make him talk. Bewildered, Jimmy leaves, more convinced than ever the whole thing is a scam.
The film also stars Piper Perabo
and William Fichtner
. "First Snow" opens March 23.