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Review: Star-studded 'Small Town Crime' satisfies

Posted Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at 3:00 PM Central
Last updated Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at 3:38 PM Central

by John Couture

Please excuse the alliteration in the headline, but sometimes I just can't help myself. When you watch as many films as I do each year, it is always refreshing when a film can pop up out of nowhere to tantalize your taste buds.

And that's just what Small Town Crime does.

It is a film that might have the ring of familiarity and yet it continues to surprise you around each corner. Criminally underrated character actor John Hawkes shines as a disgraced cop who threw this career away chasing the bottom of the bottle who finds his path to redemption in the form of a dead body that he finds on the side of the road.

The film will surely satisfy all Quentin Tarantino fans as it doesn't take a leap of imagination to place these characters in one of his movies. In many ways, the film plays as a spiritual sequel to Pulp Fiction with its mix of pulp and comedy to present a story that both entertains and makes you laugh. Of course, it might just be Robert Forster's involvement, but now that we bring it up, Small Town Crime does a good job of capturing the ethos of Jackie Brown.

Beyond the two main characters, the cast is a veritable who's who of hot Hollywood actors right now. Anthony Anderson and Octavia Spencer show up in memorable parts that are only diminished by their extended cameo length. For those curious as to what Michael Vartan has been up to since Alias, he brings an assured presence to the screen that strikes a good balance with Hawkes alcoholic cop routine.

Of course, the one performance that I believe steals the show comes from an actor that I have enjoyed for several years now, Clifton Collins Jr. He had been popping up in smaller films over the years such as Sunshine Cleaners and Freeloaders before he became a household name in Pacific Rim. In Small Town Crime, he delivers another memorable performance as a quirky pimp.

But, the charm of Small Town Crime not only lies in its wonderful acting but also in the delicate mystery that unfolds against the backdrop of violence and comedy. For a good tonal comparison, think of a grittier take on The Nice Guys and that would fit Small Town Crime to a "T."

Despite being a smaller film, the combo pack contained a strong number of bonus features which is rare these days. It seems that studios are opting to release bare-bones versions of these types of movies, but this is not the case with Small Town Crime. There are deleted scenes, a couple of featurettes and a slew of commentaries among the film's extra offerings.

The bottom line, not only is the film a surprising treat but it's a good value with all of the bells and whistles that you expect from a box office hit these days. Small Town Crime is now available on Blu-ray and DVD and is one of those hidden gems that will quickly develop a cult following.