Small Town Crime (Theaters-NA; Streaming-January 2018) Rated: R — Runtime: 91-92 minutes
els – 7.0/10
IMDB – 6.6/10
Amazon – 4.0/5 stars
Rotten Tomatoes Critics – 7.0/10
Rotten Tomatoes Audience – 3.9/5
Metacritic Metascore – 68/100
Metacritic User Score – NA/10
Directed by: Eshom Nelms, Ian Nelms
Written by: Eshom Nelms, Ian Nelms
Music by: Chris Westlake
Cast: John Hawkes, Octavia Spencer, Robert Forster, Anthony Anderson
Film Locations: Utah
Worldwide Box Office: $NA
Mike Kendall (John Hawkes) is a big-time drunk and a small-town ex-cop. A small-town ex-cop because he is a big-time drunk. Riding shotgun, too drunk to drive, with his uniformed partner; occurring immediately before he becomes an ex-cop, in the wee hours of night, they pull over a car and the driver shoots and kills Mike’s partner. Mike, because he was drunk, is thrown off the force and he sinks further into the bottle but truly believing the police will forgive, forget and hire him back.
Coming around from his nightly bender, Mike finds a badly bloodied girl by the side of the road. He rushes her to the hospital but she soon dies and the death is ruled a homicide. Seeking redemption, Mike sets out to solve the murder, dragging his family, bartenders, hookers, pimps, grandfathers, and assorted none-too friendly cops along for his burlesque, but borderline professional investigation, into multiple gruesome murders.
The Nelms brothers have woven a fateful crime story worthy of the Cohen brothers’ The Big Lebowski or Fargo. Less comedic than Lebowski and less dramatic than Fargo but all three display the same irreverent contempt for criminals and their slapdash, albeit, serious and consequential, escapades. The Nelms’ writing and directing are reminiscent of Dragnet’s Friday, just the facts — ma’am. Watching the movie you wish they would develop some of the more interesting sub-plot lines but in the end the movie does just fine without the added knowledge or clutter.
The acting is superb. John Hawks is masterful in delivery but he really pulls you in and along with his bumbling style and looks. His appearance and his face are one with a character that has been on a multi-year drunk. Gaunt and not too pretty he somehow succeeds in getting you to cheer for him no matter how much his bum nature comes into full gnarly view.
A fun movie, not too serious but captivating just the same. A worthy addition to pulp fiction and film noir. Escapism with a style all its own.