Review: ‘Small Town Crime’ Starring John Hawkes, Octavia Spencer, & Anthony Anderson

When you get to the bare bones of it, Small Town Crime is a twisted redemption story. Mike Kendall (John
Hawkes) is a former cop whose alcoholism was the catalyst for him being removed
from the force. Mike was involved in a traffic stop gone horribly wrong that
left multiple people shot and dead, including his partner. Mike was drunk on
the job during this incident, leaving him disgraced and ostracized from of all
his former colleagues – who blame him for what happened to his partner.
Mike’s life has spiraled further out of control since being
let go from the force. He is living off of unemployment benefits and is only
going to job interviews to meet the requirements for his benefits to continue.
He spends the rest of his time at local bars and drinking at his own house or
with his sister Kelly Banks, (Octavia Spencer) and her husband Teddy (Anthony Anderson). Kelly and
Teddy are concerned about the path Mike is heading down, but there seems to be
no reasoning with him.
One fateful evening Mike goes on a drunken bender. He ends
up driving his car all around town and when he wakes up, he finds himself in
the middle of a field. As he is driving back into town he notices the body of a
woman on the side of the road. He immediately puts her in his car and takes her
to the hospital, where she dies shortly after. Mike decides to take it upon
himself to find out who did this to her, and hopes that solving this case will
be what he needs to show his former coworkers and the police department that he
is deserving of his job back. Mike doesn’t realize that investigating this
murder will lead him down a rabbit hole that will not only put his life in
danger, but the lives of those close to him as well.
Small Town Crime
is another collaboration between Ian and Eshom Nelms who both wrote and
directed the film. The film tries to keep the audience engaged by throwing in a
couple of twists and turns, but all of them seemingly fall short. The film
becomes a convoluted and jumbled mess that is full of seedy characters, most of
which you never feel any real connection with. Ian and Eshom are trying to set
up a noir–style detective drama, but Small
Town Crime
never truly seems to find its direction, just like the main
character, the film seems to flounder while heading towards an unfulfilling
climax. Throughout the film it is interesting to watch Mike manipulate every
situation to his benefit. He knows how to play the system and everyone around
him, and he uses these skills through the entirety of the film. Small Town Crime leaves a lot to be
desired and there is a noticeable lack of energy throughout the movie. Couple
that with no truly memorable scenes that stand out in any way and it’s safe to
say that you can avoid this film for now, maybe catch it later on down your
Netflix queue when you have a couple hours to kill one evening.  

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

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