Thursday, 17 February 2011

Small Town Murder Songs


Writer/Dir: Ed Gass-Donnelly (This Beautiful City)
Cast: Peter Stormare, Aaron Poole, Jill Hennessey, Martha Plimpton, Stephen Eric McIntyre, Ari Cohen, Alexandria Benoit
Canada, 2011

Reason to see: I really enjoyed This Beautiful City, plus Small Town Murder Songs came on high recommendation from my colleague Marina's as one of her Top Ten films of 2010.

Small Town Murder Songs is set in a small town Ontario community whose calm is breached by the discovery of a crime. The title is as literal as it is intriguing, just like the film itself. You feel yourself being quickly yet subtly drawn into this world which on one hand everything feels very clear, yet on the other there is always a kernel of an idea planted that keeps you yearning to know more.

The film stars Peter Stormare (Fargo) as Walter, the police office who seems continually at odds within the different communities of the town, but is insistently pressed on to solve the case creating a tense atmosphere without much support. While Walter has a constant undercurrent of being slightly uncomfortable in his own skin, we have in contrast his partner Jim (Aaron Poole of This Beautiful City) who plays the cop with keen observations, common sense and all around stand-up guy. Between the two of them we get just the tip of the iceberg of the exceptional performances by the formidable cast which also includes Jill Hennessey, Martha Plimpton, Stephen Eric McIntyre and Ari Cohen. It's a joy to watch the story unfold through the journeys of the fantastic characters portrayed by such a talented cast.

The powerful score sets an impressive and all-encompassing atmosphere to the film, which instantly draws you in and keeps you present throughout. I loved how the film uniquely presents the small town with a layered and quietly complex atmosphere with several different communities intersecting, all of which are strongly affected by the crime that has appeared. It's a beautiful choice to show and hold with that people are truly affected by what happened, which is what sets the film apart from a lot crime-centric fair we get as it keep the humanity and emotions present throughout.

It's an extremely powerful, beautiful film that is not to be missed. Small Town Murder Songs is the first perfect film of 2011 and I highly recommend checking it out.

Small Town Murder Songs opens February 18, 2011 at The Royal in Toronto & at the Metro in Edmonton. See film website for more information on upcoming screenings.

See also:
Shannon's Overall View:
It's perfect. I loved it
I'll watch it again, repeatedly
I highly & widely recommend it

See All Film Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2011

Peter Stormare as Walter

Aaron Poole as Jim & Peter Stormare as Walter

Peter Stormare as Walter, Jill Hennessey as Rita and Stephen Eric McIntyre as Steve

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