Critic Reviews



Based on 10 critic reviews provided by
Stylistic debts abound: the Coen brothers, Roger Deakins, the bleak, gothic landscapes of Terrence Malick's "Badlands" and Richard Brooks's "In Cold Blood." Through it all, though, is the original and memorable spectacle of violence expressed and repressed by the desperate hero.
The film is as much music-video collection as crime drama: The interludes in which the songs swell into voluptuous prominence balance out a tale of crime and redemption so spare, it's almost abstract.
Boxoffice Magazine
A lawman seeking redemption can't seem to escape sin in Ed Gass-Donnelly's haunting, rural drama.
There's still much to admire about this carefully drawn but concise character sketch, especially the strong performances and a unique, affectingly ominous score by folk-rock-gospel outfit Bruce Peninsula.
It's a rare film that feels too short, but Small Town Murder Songs leaves one wanting more -- more murder story, mystery and revelations from lead thesp Peter Stormare and virtuoso helmer Ed Gass-Donnelly.
Village Voice
Boldly succinct yet confident enough to take its time.
Compellingly acted from top to bottom. As the raw passions of its hard-bitten characters seep into you, the songs hammer them even more deeply into your consciousness. The film's only flaw - a big one - is its brevity.
Gass-Donnelly is good at capturing stalled rural lives, from church hymn-sings populated by the elderly, their voices fragile as April snow, to dead-end afternoons at corner caf├ęs, where bored patrons stretch lunch hours with coffee and gossip.
The combination of provincial accents and Stormare's patented creepiness make "Fargo" comparisons inevitable, though Canadian filmmaker Ed Gass-Donnelly's tongue isn't anywhere near his cheek.
Slant Magazine
So intent on being "art" that it's seemingly indifferent to providing simple niceties such as compelling performance, plot, and an atmosphere that isn't predictably oppressive.

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