From the pairing of the Nelms Brothers - Ian Nelms, and Eshom Nelms - comes the crime-thriller Small Town Crime. The film screened at this year's London Film Festival; here are my thoughts on it.

The film opens by introducing us to John Hawkes' Mike Kendall. He's lifting weights, sipping beer, and throwing up. Before continuing the same cycle. As we find out during the film, he's ex-cop; he lost his job due to his alcoholism problem, given that he can't last five minutes without a drink. However, he misses the days of being in the force; his intentions are pure, but his methods are askew - "doing the right thing the wrong way", the poster tagline states. He lives off his sister (Octavia Spencer) and her husband (Anthony Anderson) but can't seem to find luck in sorting himself out. When he accidentally stumbles across the dead body of a young girl one morning, though, he sees this as a shot at redemption, becoming hell-bent on finding the killer and playing detective. But Kendall finds himself having bitten off more than he can chew when things go awry and he puts everyone he loves in serious danger.

There is a suave swagger to the opening act, and it certainly promises an entertaining, and different, crime thriller. We're introduced to this struggling man and this murder is set up and the pieces are being placed for an intriguing drama and we are locked in. Sadly, though, it doesn't last. Small Town Crime is generic and bland, a victim of the genre formula that it so desperately tried to subvert. This is perhaps the result of a screenplay that doesn't really know what it's going for, a screenplay that lacks any real focus or compelling edge and one that is frustratingly all over the place and so convoluted. The story constantly meanders with such sharp, baleful glee and never quite as seamlessly as it should - it feels too abrupt in its narrative and storytelling. The film goes for a simplistic, stripped down premise but even this gets muddied in the waters of a script trying to be so much more, so much 'edgier' than it really is. The characters themselves too fall flat due to this; it becomes painfully evident that there isn't even a whole to scratch beneath the surface of Kendall either once we spend the duration of the film with him. Hawkes certainly turns in a good, watchable performance but it's a shame he doesn't have much to work with.


Small Town Crime tries to bite off more than it can chew, and it results in a frustratingly bland and messy endeavour.

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Awais Irfan
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.

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