Small Town Crime
11th October 2017 9.00pm at empire
12th October 2017 9.00pm at Prince Charles Cinema
14th October 2017 6.30pm at Rich Mix
A classic story about a boozing ex-cop on a mission to solve a murder, Small Town Crime, directed by Eshom and Ian Nelms, is a gritty Pulp Fiction film noir with the look of a vintage 70s TV series.
A bit of a Columbo type (but more stumbling than bumbling) Mike Kendall (John Hawks) is an interesting character – reedy but tough, an alcoholic who wants his job back, but in the meantime drinks himself into a stupor every day. Kicked out of the force because of his addiction – which resulted in the death of his partner and an unlucky bystander – he flounders in his love affair with the bottle until the moment he discovers a fatally wounded woman on the side of the road. Her ultimate death is clearly homicide and he is imbued with a new sense of purpose.
Kendall’s interracial adoptive sister, Kelly Banks (Octavia Spencer) and her husband (Anthony Anderson) help him with his mortgage and expenses and generally support him, although Kelly disapproves of her brother’s lifestyle, and criticises him when he tries to solve his newly found murder case. Passing himself off as a private detective, Mike is hired to find the killer by the victim’s grandfather (Robert Forster), and finds himself mixed up with some highly shady underworld individuals.
The acting is terrific, especially Hawks’s tour de force portrayal, which is also helped by a superbly written script, and Forster’s performance is remarkable. With Utah mining culture as a backdrop, the cinematography creates a sense of the informal but dramatic; the direction is stellar and meticulous about detail and the editing is outstanding.
Not one of those endings that leaves the viewer wondering what happened, Small Town Crime’s finale is compelling and emotionally cathartic. Although the idea of the weary, vice-ridden cop-gone-wrong and trying to make good is a well worn theme – and the style is downbeat – as a work of this genre this film noir will prove to be one of the best and most memorable.
Small Town Crime does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews and interviews from our London Film Festival 2017 coverage here.
For further information about the festival visit the official BFI website here.
Watch the trailer for Small Town Crime here: