SXSW: Small Town Crime

small-town-crime-F68309No matter how hard you try, you can’t see everything at a festival like SXSW. To prepare for these big festivals, we study the schedule like our lives depend on it, read the synopses repeatedly, and try to see as many of our favourite artists as possible.  All that prep work helps a lot, but sometimes a tight schedule makes a choice for us. That happened today with Small Town Crime and we were better off for it. Put simply, Small Town Crime is an indie gem that is one of the best films I’ve seen in 2017.

Featuring too many compelling, well-written characters to count, and matched by great performances from pros like John Hawkes, Octavia Spencer, and Robert Forster, Small Town Crime sparkles.  We are introduced right away to Hawkes’ suitably pathetic, yet undeniably charming, alcoholic ex-cop. He’s got a few skeletons too many in his closet, so he needs some breakfast beers in order to get underway each afternoon. But he is determined not to let that disease keep him from solving a mystery that falls right into his lap.

ian-nelms-F68309Functioning both as a whodunnit and an offbeat action-comedy, Small Town Crime is consistently good, especially when Hawkes’ character shares the screen with Forster’s concerned grandfather and Clifton Collins Jr.’s refreshingly self-aware pimp.  Writer-directors Eshom and Ian Nelms clearly recognized what they had and give those three characters a hefty share of screen time. That must have been particularly difficult here since the cast is extremely deep. Even with the focus on that trio, I was left wanting to see more of them. I’d be first in line for a sequel (or a television series) showcasing more of their adventures.

In addition to its fantastic characters, Small Town Crime also delivers great action scenes and showcases a wide array of memorable vehicles (the Nelms brothers are self-professed car nuts). Small Town Crime is a fantastic film that shoots right to the top of the list of must-see indie movies. I cannot recommend it strongly enough.

If you’re at SXSW, you still have two more chances to see Small Town Crime on March 12 and 17, and otherwise, you should cross your fingers for this film to get a well-deserved wide release.

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15 thoughts on “SXSW: Small Town Crime

    1. Jay

      It’s great. Austin is pretty great. Very complimentary. The festival is bananas: I’ve never seen anything this interactive. Much more than just movies, even within the film programming.

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    1. Sean Post author

      It’s got elements of Tarantino plot-wise but the dialogue is much less of a focus, which I think is a good fit for this film’s characters. But I think the Jackie Brown comparison is still a good one. I definitely agree we can use more films like this.

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  1. reocochran

    Small town crimes sounds great! I trust your film festival backgrounds and great reviews over time I have read you three.
    On this note, I was surprised that it said I didn’t follow you so I pressed follow once again. (?!) 🙂
    I liked the Bruges hitman movie with Colin Ferrell a few years ago. Not a crime but two hitmen in a small, dark but picturesque film. The other guy is recognizable. Humor plus pathos.

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  2. reocochran

    Oops! Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson were in the movie made in 2008, “In Bruges.” It really was a great film. Not happy, just fascinating. Sorry spelled this wrong first time. 🙂

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