The Kid ★★½

A diverting Western that’s almost worth seeing for the unsaddled performances that director Vincent D’Onofrio gets from his cast, “The Kid” only makes a few small adjustments to the dustiest of American genres, but these errant wrinkles — a far cry from any serious revisionism — provide much of the fun. The film’s tepid pulse can be felt in the way that Sheriff Pat Garrett (Ethan Hawke) frantically warns the townsfolk that he’s about to start a gunfight with some cowboys. Or in the deference that young Billy the Kid (a dirty-faced Dane DeHaan) shows a lawman whom he truly does not want to kill. It’s a shame that D’Onofrio’s unremarkable oater tends to shoot pretty straight, because it spurs to life in the rare moments when it squints a bit and breaks with tradition. For a story about a tug-of-war between valor and rebellion, a little more tension between old tropes and new twists would have gone a long way.

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