A modern, gothic tale of crime and redemption about an aging police officer from a small Ontario Mennonite town who hides a violent past until a local murder upsets the calm of his newly reformed life.
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Walter is the chief of police in a small Ontario town that has its first murder victim, an attractive young woman who is found naked on the shores of the nearby lake. The woman isn't local and while the Ontario Provincial Police have taken the lead in the investigation, Walter assists where he can. The town is mostly a close-knit Mennonite community and Walter has recently returned to his church. He is also trying to deal with his own temper that led to a violent incident some months before. As the young woman is identified, it becomes apparent that Walter's former love interest may be lying. Written by
I was gliding through the selection of Indie films on Netflix, looking for something interesting to kill an hour or two, when I came across this film. The title intrigued me, as did the description, so I added it to my streaming queue. When the film began, I immediately liked the feel of it, set as it is in Canadian farm country, with big vistas and a stark, rural atmosphere. The music was totally unique, and fit the story perfectly. The only problem I had was that it was too loud at times, and probably a bit intrusive as well. I liked the "chapter titles," and thought they added to the film's feel. The character of Walter, the Chief of Police, was well drawn, although I would have liked a bit more detail to explain his past. Nonetheless, I was able to glean enough insight into his psyche to allow me to still enjoy the sterling performance of Peter Stormare (Fargo, Big Lebowski). This was probably the finest performance I have seen him give, and he deserves a good deal of recognition for it. Jill Hennessy turned in a compelling performance as a woman caught in the middle, and every minute she was on screen was memorable. The direction was spot-on, and I imagine we'll be seeing quite a bit more from Ed Gass-Donnelly in the future. If you like films that are more than just special effects and oddball cinematic techniques, you'll enjoy Small Town Murder Songs. Is it a murder mystery? Not really; there isn't much doubt about whodunit. This is a film about redemption, which is a subject not often handled as well as it is here. Highly recommended.
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