Tom Kelly

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Full Synopsis 

Tom Kelly, a young man just released from prison, returns to the small town where he grew up to start a new life. He has only two goals, to regain his girlfriend Liz, and to find out who set the town's single and last factory on fire, a crime which resulted in Tom punching the factory's owner, who unexpectedly died a few days later (Tom was blamed).

From Liz's mother, Tom learns where Liz works. He visits Liz at her job and sets up a date for that night, although she warns him that she was until recently living with Harry Osgood, a powerful figure in town and nephew of the factory owner. Tom then visits his parents and learns that his father Ben's cancer has advanced. Ben blames his son for the town's downhill slide after the factory burned. However Tom's mother, pleased to see him, offers him his old room. Tom borrows his mother's car and drives to a local bar. There he meets old friends, including Lawrence, who is playing pool. Tom joins the game and impresses all with his skill--until he misses an easy shot. Disappointed and embarrassed, Tom suggests to Lawrence that they leave. Lawrence accompanies Tom to the site of the burned factory, where Tom recalls how he saw someone run from the factory just before it burst into flame. It was then, according to Tom, that the owner drove up and accused him of setting the fire (Tom was an aggressive activist opposing the factory's toxic workplace environment). Lawrence advises him to forget the past.

That night Tom takes Liz out. They drive to a favorite hilltop to enjoy the sunset. Tom tries to make love to her but she resists and asks him why he returned. He confesses his obsession with discovering who burned the factory. Liz suggests they go dancing at a nearby roadhouse. They drive there and upon entering, Tom is confronted with Liz's estranged boyfriend, Osgood. Sparks fly and Tom barely resists assaulting Osgood. Tom and Liz leave and as he drops her off at her parents' house, begs her to reject Osgood. Liz cannot or will not answer.

Tom buys whiskey then breaks into the bar, where he drunkenly replays the shot he missed earlier that day. Unfortunately, two police officers, Henriks and O'Hare, confront him and after a scuffle, arrest him. At the police station, Chief of Police Hartley gives Tom one more chance. As Tom leaves the police station, he passes Osgood, who barges into Hartley's office demanding to know why Tom walked. Hartley, who despises Osgood, tells him that he owes Ben a favor for saving his life in the war. Grinning, he says he intends to do nothing whatever about Tom Kelly.

Determined to stay out of trouble Tom spends the next few days educating himself by indiscriminately reading books. Finally, claustrophobic, (he does not get along with Ben) Tom moves in with Lawrence and his girlfriend Cindy. Tom acquires an old car. On the test drive with Lawrence, they discuss the upcoming county fair and Lawrence's problems with Cindy. Lawrence tells Tom that he thinks Liz might be back with Osgood. Tom doesn't believe him. Soon after, Lawrence and Cindy throw a party, where Tom encounters another newcomer, Sabina, a German "traveler." He has barely struck up a conversation with her when Lawrence asks him to relate a story from their old "activist" days. While telling the story Tom gets emotional thinking about Ben (the factory gave him cancer) and quits the party.

Tom walks downtown, where he runs into Margie, another old friend. Margie, an artist, is married to Hendriks-- she tells Tom they are separated. Margie invites Tom back to her apartment, where they make love. Margie hints that she knows something about who started the fire but refuses to tell him any more unless he persuades Lawrence (whom she likes) to visit her.

Later, Hendriks sees Tom leave Margie's apartment. With O'Hare and Burke (another off-duty cop), he threatens and attempts to beat Tom up. Tom eludes Hendriks and returns to the party. He tells Lawrence to visit Margie just as Hendriks and the other officers arrive. Tom escapes by jumping off the porch roof. After Tom leaves with Hendriks hot after him, the party continues. Lawrence notices Cindy necking with a guest--and leaves the party himself, headed for Margie's. Tom evades Hendriks and drives to Osgood's mansion, where he knocks on the front door. Liz answers. Tom enters and confronts Osgood, who is by turns condescending, charming and threatening. When Liz sits on the arm of Osgood's chair, Tom, fed up, heads for the door. Liz follows. Tom informs her that he is leaving town that night--if she wants him she must choose--now! He tells her he will be waiting in his car. Tom walks away into the darkness.

Meanwhile Lawrence has visited Margie and now, both drunk, they are attracted to the brilliantly colored lights of the fair like moths to a flame. Osgood asks Liz to go to an event for elites at Greenbriar Manor. Liz refuses. Osgood drives away, his car passing Tom's. After hesitating, Liz joins Tom in his car and suggests they go to the fair. Tom reluctantly agrees. At the fair, Tom and Liz happily ride the ferris wheel. Tom spots Hendriks looking up at them. After the ride stops they elude Hendriks but when Tom accuses Liz of selling her soul for Osgood's money and power, she runs away. Tom follows her to another of their favorite childhood spots, where Liz tries to redeem herself by making love to him. Afterwards they walk back to the fair, but Tom fears their lovemaking has created a barrier between them.

Lawrence and Margie approach the dunking booth, manned by Hendriks! Trying to dunk him, Margie makes a drunken spectacle of herself while Chief Hartley (who manned the booth earlier) stands nearby watching. Tom and Liz approach the dunking booth. Tom dunks Hendriks several times, angering him even more than Margie did. As Tom, Lawrence, Margie and Liz leave the fair together, Margie reveals that her husband (Hendriks) might have been the mysterious figure who burned the factory--he was jealous about her affair with the factory owner. In the middle of the dark field beyond the car park, stunned by this revelation,Tom drops to his knees.. Headlights flash across them. Tom stands, wary. Hendriks and then Osgood confront them. Hendriks demands that Margie leave Lawrence--she refuses. Hendriks initiates a fight with Lawrence but Tom steps forward instead. Osgood calls for Liz to leave Tom and join him. As if in a trance Liz pulls away from Tom, walking toward Osgood. But when he tries to stop her, Hendriks punches him. A fight starts between Tom and Hendriks, who are now surrounded by onlookers. Among the onlookers is Cindy, who has come to the fair looking for Lawrence. Car headlights illuminate the scene....