Small Town Crime

An alcoholic ex-cop gets a shot at redemption in this shambling-gumshoe delight, which sees John Hawkes channelling a drunk Columbo.


Dir-Scr Ian Nelms, Eshom Nelms
Prod John J. Kelly, Brad Johnson, Parisa Caviani
With John Hawkes, Anthony Anderson, Octavia Spencer
UK Distribution Netflix

Beer is breakfast for former cop Mike (John Hawkes), an unrepentant loser desperate to get his badge back but burning bridges at every turn. Even his supportive sister Kelly (played with deadpan élan by Octavia Spencer, who is also executive producer on the film) is starting to lose patience with Mike’s lying, drifting and drinking. But he maintains an unfounded optimism about his career prospects, so when a murdered woman is found by the side of the road our low-rent gumshoe dedicates himself to seeking justice for the Jane Doe. Embarking on his own unofficial investigation, Mike soon stumbles upon a Twin Peaks-style vice ring. This is a hugely fun, blackly comic sunshine noir in the Elmore Leonard vein, with a great line in bad taste and a satisfying dollop of pulpy genre thrills. Hawkes, channelling a drunk Columbo, dazzles throughout, giving one of his finest performances.

Kate Taylor

Festival guests

These members of the filmmaking team are expected to attend the festival:

  • Eshom Nelms, Director; Ian Nelms, Director; Michelle Lang, Cast; Jeremy Ratchford, Cast

See the full list of visiting festival guests. Please note that we can't guarantee guest attendance at any particular screening.