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Sheriff Wes Clayton is a compassionate lawman and a Mormon bishop in a quiet Mormon community called Brigham. The tranquil town is shaken to the core when a woman from California is found murdered near her car. Clayton, his young deputy, the town's retired sheriff and his shrewd secretary work with an FBI agent sent to investigate. As a civil and spiritual leader in the frightened town, Clayton must serve both justice and mercy to uncover the town's deepest secrets, find the murderer and keep Brigham from ripping itself apart. Written by
Mary Jane Jones
Thoughts on Brigham City from a non-Mormon (no spoilers)
First and foremost, Brigham City is a murder mystery. But it's also a story about how a murder can make victims of everyone who lives in a small town that is supposed to be safe.
While Brigham City is set in a predominantly Mormon town in Utah, but it could just have easily been any small town in America and the people could have been of any faith (or none at all). The people of the town feel safe and secure. No one locks they're doors. Everyone knows everyone else. Then their sense of security is shattered by a spree of vicious murders. Suddenly everyone is on his guard and quick to distrust those they have trusted for years.
The plot of Brigham City really has the feel of a traditional Hollywood thriller, the addition of Mormon culture give the film a higher level of depth. While the film is about Mormons and provides some brief glimpses into their beliefs and customs, it does not attempt to convert audience members to the LDS church.
In his second film, Richard Dutcher does an admirable job of bringing this story to the big screen. The film feels more professional and polished than his previous entry (God's Army), but at the same time doesn't feel like the typical Hollywood fare.
What works in this movie is Dutcher's attention to detail and the depth of the characters. I was pleased to see how the violence in the movie was implied rather than shown directly. I was also impressed by the casting of Wilford Brimley. There may have been a commercial reason for him being attached to the film, but his presence gave the film a feeling of familiarity.
Dutcher also makes great use of camera angles and music to cast each person as a suspect. This is also the film's low point, as it is used so much it begins to bog down the story. Non-Mormons may feel that certain points of the movie are a bit too preachy.
All in all, Brigham City is a decent movie. I don't recommend it for younger children, as some of the implied violence may be disturbing, but most people over 13 will probably be drawn into the story the same way you would a traditional Hollywood thriller.
You might ask why I (a non-Mormon) interested in seeing Brigham City. Since I manage the movie theater where the film is playing I wanted to be able to give an informed opinion about the movie. As a movie fan, I was interested to see how Brigham City stood up to other Hollywood and independent films. As a person, I was interested for the glimpse of Mormon culture the film provided.
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