Recommended. I don’t know anyone who’s seen The Motel Life; I don’t know anyone who read the excellent Willy Vlautin book it’s based upon. That’s a shame but not a surprise. Studios, even so-called independent ones, don’t always promote depressing movies. From their hard-scrabble childhood, Frank (Emile Hirsch, Into The Wild) and Jerry Lee (Stephen Dorff, Cecil B. DeMented) have been the Flannigan brothers, heroes of the Frank’s unpublished stories, as illustrated by Jerry Lee. Now they shuttle around Reno, Nevada. Frank’s past includes a part-time-hooker girlfriend (Dakota Fanning, War Of The Worlds) and Jerry Lee, a fresh hit-and-run killing. Given all this, the only way this story works is if you care about the characters and these three actors make a strong case. Maybe it’s also the fact that the brothers Polsky, Gabe and Alan (Red Army) helmed the pic. Kris Kristofferson (Blade) returns in a great supporting role.