Small Town Crime
Mike Kendall, a disgraced ex-cop, is fighting a losing battle with the bottle. When he finds a woman left for dead at the side of a road, Kendall turns private eye to track down her killers, taking one last shot at redemption.
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★★★★ review by WraithApe on Letterboxd
A crime thriller from filmmaker brothers Eshom and Ian Nelms, centred around an alcoholic ex-cop (played to perfection by John Hawkes), who stumbles across a new trail and can't give up the scent, becoming embroiled in a seedy affair that shouldn't concern him.
It doesn't really break any new ground - there's shades of the Coens and early Tarantino in there - but also never puts a foot wrong: tightly scripted and well acted throughout, with a great eye for detail and enough of its own identity to stand out from the crowd. It's by turns funny and dark, but the shifts of tone are all expertly judged and as with watching a Coens film, you always feel you're in safe hands.
★★★★½ review by Mumbles on Letterboxd
A great companion piece to John Hawkes other neo-noir film Too Late. I am a sucker for this kind of film and of The Hawkes himself. Will be great to see a third film manifest itself to round proceedings off.
★★★★ review by collin on Letterboxd
From the writer/director duo of two films I've never heard of, (Waffle Street and Lost on Purpose) Eshom and Ian Nelms have crafted a solid gritty and worthy addition to the noir private detective genre. John Hawkes absolutely crushes it here as Mike Kendall, an ex-cop and an alcoholic who stumbles upon the body of a young woman on the side of the road. Propelling him on a journey to bring the law into his own hands and find the killer to deliver justice himself.
When we first meet Mike he is at rock bottom. Through the course of the film his path of redemption becomes more apparent and with every new clue his need for alcohol becomes more and more non-existent. Anthony Andersom and Octavia Spencer give great performances as well. Robert Forster is excellent as always. The cinematography is fantastic and the action is surprisingly intense and realistic. It's balanced with some genuinely comedic moments as well so the tone never becomes bleak or depressing even if the subject matter is.
This film is really going over people's radar. It's already on Blu-ray and VOD. Worth a watch.
★★★½ review by Brian Tallerico on Letterboxd
Put John Hawkes in more movies (or a TV show...this would work well as a TV show).
★★★★ review by Chris Brown on Letterboxd
I love John Hawkes. He went from playing meek, nebbish, sensitive characters to playing gritty and tough characters after just one role. His performance in Winter's Bone completely transformed his career. He proves there's hope for all us nerds that someone might view us as cool one day!
I also have a soft spot for films where a person ups and decides to become a detective either because a situation they are in, or something happening to someone they care about.
Small Town Crime's story is compelling and the "case" Hawkes takes on is full of interesting characters ad moments. But the real reason to watch this is Hawkes' performance as the ex-cop who's sad life is re-invigorated after he decides to pursue a crime that has taken place. The way he takes on his purpose and uses his skills as an investigator while pulling himself out of a beer bottle is great. He's a mess at the beginning of the film, but once he takes action he is completely transformed. But the audience can still see the broken man under the professional veneer.
All this leads to an excellent finale. It's not original by any means, in fact, it's how most of these types of films end. But I found this one particularly tense and i had real rooting interest. And I was never sure who would survive.
If you like crime films, this is one of the better ones, mostly thanks to Hawkes. He really shines in this.
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