Hurricane Katrina serves a dual symbol of destruction and rebirth in "The Yellow Handkerchief," a slender, potent drama about three outcast strangers who share an old convertible, a motel room and painful memories in the aftermath of the devastating storm.

William Hurt's just-released convict Brett, Kristen Stewart's angst-ridden teenager Martine and Eddie Redmayne's rootless dreamer Gordy meet by chance and take off on a road trip through the dank Louisiana bayou. They're all haunted by their pasts and uncertain about their futures.

Brett gets involved in a convenience store altercation that briefly lands him back in police custody, Gordy wears a gray Confederate coat and claims he's got American Indian roots, and Martine kicks Gordy out of bed when he tries to do more than kiss.

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Brett can't stop thinking of his lost love May (Maria Bello), who drifted from his life after he went to prison for an accidental killing. Encouraged by his two new pals, he decides to stop punishing himself and start anew.

Based on a short story by Pete Hamill and directed by Udayan Prasad, "The Yellow Handkerchief" is a gentle film with little action and few words. Its power derives from the unspoken.